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Full text of "Sir Thomas Munro and the British settlement of Madras presidency"

Presented to the 



UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 
LIBRARY 

by the 

ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE 
LIBRARY 

1980 



SIR WILLIAM WILSON HUNTER, K.C.S.I., CLE. 

M.A. (Oxford) : LL.D. (Cambridge) 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



HENRY FROWDE, M.A. 

PUBLISHER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD 
LONDON, EDINBURGH 
NEW YORK AND TORONTO 




O9054 



RULERS OF I 



Sfv XTbomae fliiunvo 




AND THE BRITISH SETTLEMENT OF THE 
MADRAS PRESIDENCY 



BY 

JOHN BRADSHAW, M.A., LL.D. 
Inspector of Schools, Madras 



SECOND IMPRESSION 



OXFORD 
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS: 1906 



INTRODUCTION 



No name, in any part of India, perhaps, is so familiar 
or held in such veneration as that of Munro is in the 
Madras Presidency, though two generations have 
passed away since his death. In the town of Madras 
the celebrated equestrian statue by Chantrey serves 
as a landmark, ever keeping the name of ' Munro ' in 
the mouths of all ; but in the Districts where the best 
years of his life were spent no monument is needed to 
perpetuate his name or memory. 

Great changes have taken place in Southern India 
during the two-thirds of a century since Munro's death. 
The country has been opened up by railways and 
telegraph wires, and the people have been modernized 
by schools and colleges. Almost every town which 
Munro visited as Collector, Colonel, and Governor 
has now a railway station or is within a few hours' 
drive of one, and each has its English school^ its dis- 
pensary or hospital, its post and telegraph office, 
its magistrate's court and its police station. 

But great as have been the changes since Munro's 
time, they are not so great as those which the 



6 



SIJ^ THOMAS MUNRO 



Presidency witnessed in the half century between 
Thomas Munro's arrival at Madras as a military 
cadet in 1780, and his death as Governor in 
1827. In the former year Haidar was devastating 
the Karnatik up to the walls of Fort St. George, and 
* black columns of smoke were everywhere in view 
from St. Thomas' Mount.' During the following forty 
years the history of Madras was one of wars, of 
cession of territory to the British, and of the settle- 
ment of the new Districts. How large a share Munro 
took as a soldier and as a civil administrator in the 
British settlement of Southern India, these pages 
will show. 

They will also exhibit a character worthy of imita- 
tion by every Indian official and by every well-wisher 
of the Indian races. His own letters paint the 
man — brave, wise, and kindly. No truer estimate 
of his qualities could be given than that by the Hon. 
Mountstuart Elphinstone — ' strong practical good 
sense, simplicity and frankness, perfect good nature 
and good humour, real benevolence unmixed with 
the slightest cant of misanthropy, activity and truth- 
fulness of mind, easily pleased with anything, and 
delighted with those things that in general have no 
effect but on a youthful imagination 

'It is not enough,' the same writer observes, 'to 
give new laws or even good courts. You must 
take the people along with you, and give them a sliare 
in your feelingSy which can only be done by sharing 

^ Colebrooke's Life of Mountstuart Elphinstone, ii. 35. 



INTRODUCTION 



7 



theirs! This Munro did fully, and he had his reward, 
for to this day the natives of his old Districts rise 
up and call him blessed. In my official capacity 
I have visited almost every spot in the Madras 
Presidency in which Sir Thomas Munro lived or 
encamped, and can speak from personal knowledge 
of the impression that great administrator has left on 
the face of the country, the system on which it is 
governed, and on the hearts of the people. From 
Salem the Kev. W. Robinson, writing to me, says : 
'Munro^s name is held in the greatest reverence in 
this District, and the highest compliment they can 
pay a civilian is to compare him to Munro. I have 
talked to old natives who cherish his memory as that 
of their greatest benefactor.' In the Ceded Districts 
boys are still named after him, ' Munrolappa.' In the 
Cuddapah District wandering mendicants sing ballads 
to his praise. At Gooty a Brahman schoolmaster 
recently informed me that ' Sir Thomas Munro is styled 
Mandava Rishi, — Mandava Rishi being no other than 
Munro deified.' In the recent season of scarcity, 1891- 
92, at a meeting held at Gooty, with the object of 
petitioning Government for a reduction of the land 
assessment, near the end of the proceedings an old 
rdyat stood up and merely said in Telugu, * Oh for 
Munro Sahib back again ! ' 

As Munro's own letters afford the truest and the 
most vivid record of his life's work, they have been 
largely used in the following pages. They give this 
volume an autobiographical character which forms 



8 



S/J? THOMAS MUNRO 



its individual feature in the Rulers of India Series. 
In his diary^ Feb. 15, 1830, Elphinstone writes : — 

* I have begun Sir T. Munro's Life^ and am quite enchanted 
with it. It cannot fail to delight even those who had 
previously no interest in the subject. It is almost all made 
up of his own letters, which have fortunately been pre- 
served, and which show that his judgment and sagacity at 
nineteen were as superior to those of ordinary people as they 
were to those of his contemporaries when his reputation was 
more extensive. They also most fortunately disclose the 
many accomplishments which were concealed by his modesty 
and that delicacy of taste and tenderness of feeling which lay 
hid under his plain and somewhat stern demeanour.' 

This Memoir is mainly based on the Life of Sir 
Thomas Munro, by the Rev. G. R. Gleig, M.A., late 
Chaplain-General of the Forces (Colburn and Bentley), 
3 vols. 1831, and the Letters have been reprinted 
from the revised edition, published in one volume by 
John Murray, 1849. The reader is also referred to 
Sir A. J. Arbuthnot's Sir Thomas Munro, with 
Selections from his Minutes^ c&c, (Kegan Paul and 
Co., 1881); to Sir W. W. Hunters Brief History of 
the Indian Peoples, and to the volumes on Elphinstone 
and the Marquess of Hastings in this Series. 

Writing in India I have not had the advantage of 
seeing the final proofs of this work, but I desire to 
thank the Editor of the Series for his kindness and for 
the additional trouble he has had in seeing it through 
the press. 

J. B. 

Madras, Oct. i8, 1893. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 




PAGES 






5-8 


I. 






II. 


War with Haidar AjA 


17-42 


III. 


War with TiptJ 


43-60 


IV. 


The BAramahal — Munro as Collector 


61-81 


V. 


The Third Mysore War 


82-86 


VI. 


KiNARA AND ITS SETTLEMENT .... 


87-110 


VII. 


The Ceded Districts . . . . . 


111-120 


VIII. 


Wellesley's Campaign in the Deccan and 






Correspondence with Munro 


121-140 


IX. 


Munro's First Visit to Europe 


141-152 


X. 


President of the Judicial Commission 


153-160 


XI. 


The Pindari and Maratha Wars, 1817-1818 . 


161-173 


XII. 


Munro's Second Visit to England 


174-178 


XIII. 


Governor of Madras — Administkatia'e Reforms 


179-193 


XIV. 


The Burmese War, 1824- 1826 .... 


194-206 


XV. 


Last Tours and Death 


207-213 




Appendix . . .... 


215-221 






223-233 



NOTH ON THE VOWEL SOUNDS 

The orthography of proper naiTies follows generally the system 
adopted by the Indian Government for the Imperial Gazetteer of India. 
That system, while adhering to the popular spelling of very well- 
known places, such as Punjab, Poena, Deccan, &c., employs in all 
other cases the vowels with the following uniform sounds : — 

a, as in woman ; a, as in father : as in km : as in intrigue : 
0, as in cold : u, as in hull : u, as in ria*al. 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



CHAPTER I 
Boyhood 

Thomas Munro was bom in Glasgow on May %% 
1 76 1. His father, Alexander Munro, was a merchant 
trading chiefly with Virginia, and his mother was 
sister of Dr. Stark, a well-known anatomist of that 
day. Thomas was the second child of a family of five 
sons and two daughters. In his infancy a severe 
attack of measles caused partial deafness ; to this 
deafness he refers in his first letter from India, and to 
the increase of it, as he advanced in life, he makes 
frequent allusion in the correspondence of his later 
years. 

Munro passed from the Grammar School to the 
Glasgow University, which he entered when he was 
about thirteen, remaining in it for nearly three years. 
At college he was distinguished in mathematics and 
chemistry, and was besides a great reader of history and 
literature apart from his collegiate course. Evidence 
of his literary taste and wide reading is disclosed in 



12 



S/I^ THOMAS MUNRO 



many of his private letters, a taste which he kept up 
throughout his life in India, showing himself no mean 
critic of the current literature of the day. Among 
the books or authors named by his biographer as his 
favourites were Anson's Voyages, Plutarch's Lives, 
Spenser, Shakespeare, Smith's Wealth of Nations, 
Hume's History, and the Life of Frederick the Great 
Accounts of wars and of the tactics of generals afforded 
him peculiar interest. In order to read Don Quixote 
in the original when a boy he taught himself Spanish 
with the help of a dictionary and a grammar. This 
knowledge soon proved useful, for being the only 
person known to have a knowledge of the language, 
he was called on to translate some papers found in 
a Spanish vessel captured by a privateer belonging to 
a mercantile house in Glasgow. The reward which he 
received for this he gave to his mother as his first 
earnings. 

Munro was well fitted by nature for the career 
he was destined to fill as a soldier and administrator 
in India. Tall and robust, he excelled in all athletic 
sports, and was possessed of a high courage, extra- 
ordinary agility, great presence of mind and powers of 
self-denial. Munro spent most of his vacations at 
a country house called Northwoodside, then two or 
three miles out of Glasgow. This spot was beautifully 
situated on the banks of the Kelvin, and the days he 
spent here fishing in the stream, or swimming in 
Jackson's dam, are often referred to in his corre- 
spondence from India. 



BOYHOOD 



13 



In 1777 Munro's father obtained for him a clerkship 
in the counting-house of Messrs. Somerville & Gordon, 
West-Indian merchants in Glasgow. Shortly after- 
wards, the magistrates, who were not unacquainted 
with young Munro's military propensities, made him 
a tender of a lieutenancy in the corps which they were 
raising. But his father being opposed to his acceptance 
of it he reluctantly declined the offer, his disappoint- 
ment being increased by the departure for military 
service of several of his old companions, one being the 
future Sir John Moore who died at Corunna. 

In the following year, however, the house of which 
his father was a partner became embarrassed. The 
passing of the Act of Confiscation by the Congress 
of the United States led to its stopping payment, 
and the Munro family were reduced to compara- 
tive poverty. The father was now glad to accept 
for his son a midshipman's berth in the mer- 
cantile marine of the East India Company; but just 
before he sailed he was able to get it changed for 
a cadetship. Not being able to afford to pay for his 
passage, young Munro obtained permission from the 
captain of the Walpole to work his way out to Madras 
as an ordinary seaman^, and here he arrived on 
January 15, 1780. 

The following extract from a letter to his mother 
gives a humorous account of his first experiences 
after landing at Madras : — 

^ ^ This incident Mr. Gleig was not aware of when he wrote his TaJq 
of Sir Thomas Munro in 1829, but mentions it in the edition of 1849. 



14 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



' Dear Madam, 

' When the ship anchored in the Eoads, a number 
of the natives came on board. They were dressed 
in long white gowns. One of them, a grave, decent- 
looking man, came up to me; he held a bundle of 
papers in his hand which he begged I would read; 
they were certificates from different people of his 
fidelity and industry. He said that strangers on their 
arrival in India were often at a loss for many 
necessary articles, but that I need give myself no 
trouble, for if I would only give him money, he would 
purchase for me whatever I wanted ; he would attend 
me as a servant, and would be content with such 
wages as I should think upon trial he deserved. 
I congratulated myself on having met with so respect- 
able a person in the character of a servant. He said 
he would go on shore and get me another^ for that no 
gentleman could do without two, and that he would 
at the same time carry my dirty linen to be washed. 
I had only a few changes clean ; I gave him the rest. 

^ Two days after, when I went on shore, I found my 
old man standing on the beach with half a dozen of 
porters to carry my baggage to Captain Henderson's 
house. I went early to sleep, quite happy at being 
rid of my old shipmates the soldiers. 

* My servant entered the room while I was dressing 
next morning. He surveyed me, and then my bed, 
with amazement. The sea-chest, which occupied one 
half of the chamber, was open ; he looked into it and 
shook his head. I asked the cause of his wonder. 



BOYHOOD 



15 



" Oh, Sir, this will never do ; nobody in this country 
wears buff waistcoats and breeches, or thread stock- 
ings, nor sleeps upon mattresses ; sheets and blankets 
are useless in this warm climate ; you must get a table 
and chairs, and a new bed/' 

' I was vexed to learn that all the clothes, of which 
I had taken so much care in the passage from Europe, 
were now to be of no service. 

*He inspected the contents of the chest. The 
whole was condemned, together with the bed-clothes, 
as unserviceable, except three or four changes of linen 
which were to serve me till a tailor should fit me out 
In a proper manner. 

* " It is customary with gentlemen," said the old man, 
to make a present of all their European articles to 
their servants, but I will endeavour to dispose of 
yours to advantage ; four guineas will buy a table 
and chairs, and cloth for the tailor, and as Captain 
Henderson is gone to Bengal, you must get a couch 
of your own; it will not cost above two guineas." 
He went out with the six guineas, leaving me with 
an empty chest, and my head full of new cuts of 
sleeves and skirts, which the tailor was to make in 
a few days. But all my schemes were disconcerted 
by some unfortunate accident befalling my good friend 
with the credentials, for he never returned. 

* This unexpected blow prevented me from stirring 
out above twice or thrice in a week for several months 
after. On these days I sallied forth in a clean suit, 
and visited all my friends. After Dr. Koenig came to 



i6 



S/jR THOMAS MUNRO 



live with Mr. Ross, I spent the greatest part of my 
time at his house, amusing myself with shells and 
flowers ; but before that I employed it differently. 

' I rose early in the morning to review my clothes ; 
after having determined whether shirt No. 3 or 4 was 
best, I worked at my needle till breakfast. When it 
was over I examined the cook's accounts, and gave 
orders about dinner ; I generally read the rest of the 
day till the evening, when I mounted to the top of the 
house to observe the stars I had been reading of during 
the day in Ferguson's Astronomy, 

* While I remained in Madras, my pay as a cadet 
was eight pagodas ^ a month ; of this I gave two to 
a servant called a dubash, one to a cook, and one to 
the washerman ; the remaining four were to answer 
every expense in a place where everything is sold at 
the highest price. 

'With all my economy, it was near six months 
before I could save money enough to buy me a few 
suits of linen. I did not choose then to ask any of 
Mr. R. ; and Mr. H. did not seem disposed to give me 
any assistance till I should leave Madras. But Mr. R., 
wishing to get me appointed to join the detachment 
under Colonel Baillie, I continued in Madras, making 
application for this purpose, till Haidar entered the 
Karnatik, when I joined the army in the field.' 

^ A pagoda was worth about 75. 6c?. 



CHAPTER II 

War with Haidar Ali 

Sir Thomas Munro's life and work in India may 
be divided into four periods. The first, from 1780 to 
1792, was purely military, and during most of these 
twelve years he was on active service in the wars 
with Haidar Ali and Tipii Sultan. In the second, 
1 792-1 807, he was employed in the civil administration 
of the country: from 1792 to 1799 in the Baramahal. 
which had been ceded by Tipti ; in 1 799-1 800 in 
Kanara, and from 1800 to 1807 in the Districts still 
known as the Ceded Districts, acquired by treaty with 
the Nizam in 1800. The third period, 1814-1818, after 
an interval of six years in Europe, was spent partly in 
civil and partly in military duty. He was sent out 
by the Court of Directors in 18 14 as ^Principal 
Commissioner for the revision of the internal ad- 
ministration of the Madras territories' — -judicial and 
financial; and during 1817-1818 he was in command 
of a division of the army in the last Maratha War. 
The fourth period, after a short visit to England in 
1819, was that of his governorship of Madras from 
June 8, 1820, until his death on July 6, 1827. 

B 



i8 



S/R THOMAS MUNRO 



The year in which Munro arrived at Madras was 
the commencement of a critical period in the history 
of British India. The conduct of the Madras Govern- 
ment — Sir Thomas Rumbold, the Governor, and Sir 
Hector Munro, the Commander-in-Chief, being at 
variance with the other members of Council — gave an 
opening which neither the French nor the other 
enemies of English supremacy were slow to make use 
of. Haidar All of Mysore, and the Nizam of the 
Deccan, the two strongest Musalman powers in India, 
endeavoured to draw the Marathas into an alliance 
against England, but the diplomacy of Hastings 
won over the Nizam and the Maratha Raja of 
Nagpur. 

Haidar, at the head of a numerous and well- 
appointed army, joined by a corps of Europeans under 
Lally, marched from Seringapatam, and by August 
had laid siege to Arcot, a town about sixty -five miles 
west of Madras. ' The Government,' writes Munro in 
a letter to his father in October, 1780, * being at length 
convinced by the burning of the villages around, and 
the country people daily flocking in multitudes to 
Madras, that Haidar had passed the mountains, 
prepared to oppose him. General Munro was ordered 
to take the command of the army, and at the same 
time instructions were sent to the north to Colonel 
Baillie to march with his detachment and join the 
main body.' Sir Hector Munro reached Conjeveram, 
and Colonel Baillie had advanced to within fourteen 
miles of the latter, when Haidar threw his army be- 



H^AR WITH HAIDAR AU 



19 



tween the two and completely routed Baillie's detach- 
ment at Perambakam on September 10, 1780. 

During the remainder of the war with Haidar and 
the French, Munro was actively employed, and in 
the Appendix will be found a * Memorandum of his 
Services/ in which he gives a summary of his career 
in the army and while in civil employ. Throughout 
the war with Haidar, and subsequently during the wars 
with Tipii and with the Marathas, Munro wrote long 
letters or journals to his father and to some of his 
friends, describing very fully the several campaigns, 
and giving accounts of the battles and various 
military operations in which he was engaged. These 
letters not only possess the advantage of being written 
by an eye-witness, and at the time or immediately 
after the events, but are remarkable for the masterly 
criticism of the conduct of the several generals, as 
well as for the literary ability displayed by the writer. 

The following is an extract from a journal which 
he kept in 1781-1782, and despatched to his father 
in October, 1782. It was written chiefly by night, 
' when,' he says, ^ I was almost as much plagued by 
swarms of troublesome insects flying about the candle 
and getting into my hair and eyes and under my 
shirt-collar as I would have been by the enemy.' 

'The newspapers say that a Committee of the House 
of Commons is appointed to enquire into the causes of 
Haidar Ali^s irruption, and the extent of that calamity. 
It has extended so far that there is not a human 

B 1 



20 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



being to be seen in the country — the only inhabitants 
are the garrisons of the forts, and the British and 
Mysorean armies. 

'The Mysorean army, which encamped before Vellore 
on the 14th of December [1780], was commanded by 
Muhammad All ; Haidar himself remained at Arcot. 

* Vellore is situated at the entrance of the Ambtir 
valley, which leads to one of the principal passes into 
Mysore, and all convoys coming this way must pass in 
sight of it; for which reason, a strong guard was always 
requisite to prevent their being intercepted by the 
garrison. It was chiefly the dread of this that deter- 
mined Haidar to attack it. The force that Colonel Lang 
had to defend it with was two hundred and fifty Euro- 
peans and five hundred sepoys, besides a rabble of one 
thousand two hundred Nawab's troops and poligars. 

' The fortifications were built by the Marathas more 
than two hundred years ago. The walls were formed 
of the same hard stone which had been used at Wandi- 
wash. The stones were three or four feet thick, and 
eighteen or twenty long, and were placed end-ways. 
The ditch which surrounded it was two hundred feet 
broad, and fifteen or twenty deep. Two miles to the 
right of the fort were three fortified hills. A six-pounder 
from the nearest threw a shot three hundred yards 
over the opposite rampart. It was against this that 
the enemy directed their attack. They began their 
approaches near a mile from the foot of the wall. 
Nothing but th^ir numbers could ever have accom- 
plished a work of such amazing labour ; the soil on the 



IVAR WITH HAIDAR Alf 21 



hills was so thin that they could not make trenches, but 
were obliged to advance under cover of a wall of 
gabions, and to fill them they had to bring earth from 
the plain below. They met many large fragments of 
Tock in their way. They undermined some, and rolled 
them down the hill ; and those they could not manage 
they avoided by making a sweep round them. In three 
weeks they had got the better of all these obstacles, 
and raised a battery, which in a few days demolished 
one of the angles of the fort. They at the same time 
raised another on an eminence which overlooked the 
place ; and the garrison, having only a few small guns, 
<jould neither return their fire, nor show themselves in 
the daytime. They laboured hard during the night 
in cutting off* the ruined angle, by a deep trench with 
a breastwork behind it. On the night of the loth of 
January, the enemy, headed by Muhammad All in 
person, made two attacks, and in both were repulsed 
with great loss. 

' It was surprising that Haidar, after raising the 
siege of Vellore, did not hasten to engage the English 
•army before it was reinforced. Had he been so inclined, 
he had time enough to have overtaken it, as it lay three 
days at Wandiwash. Perhaps the high military char- 
acter of General Coote made him doubtful of success. . . . 

'Whilst General Coote carried on this petty war 
about Cuddalore, Haidar made himself mxaster of 
Ambtir ^ and Thiagur ^ in the Karnatik : and of all 



^ Ambur in North Arcot, now a railway station, 112 miles west 
of Madras. 2 Thiagadrug in South Arcot. 



22 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



Tanjore but the capital. We must, however, suppose 
he had good reasons for remaining there. If it was 
not the smallness of his force, it might have been 
with a view to keep Haidar to the southward, and to 
draw his attention from the reinforcement which was 
then coming from Bengal. 

' The General moved in the end of May to raise the 
siege of Thiagur. He reached Tirivadi the ist of 
March [i 781], from whence Mir Sahib retreated on his 
appearance; here he halted two days, and then 
returned to his old camp at Cuddalore. I cannot 
account for this conduct, unless by supposing that 
from Baillie's defeat he conceived too high an opinion 
of Haidar s army, and relied too little on his own, or 
that he did not think the place of sufficient conse- 
quence to risk a general engagement to prevent its 
fall, and that he only moved to divert the enemy and 
protract the siege. 

'The Bengal troops having by this time entered 
the Karnatik, the General, to hinder Haidar from 
striking any blow against them, marched to the 
southward on the 16th June, and two days after 
arrived at Chilambaram, a fortified pagoda, thirty 
miles south-west of Cuddalore. Adjoining to the 
pagoda there is a large pettah, surrounded by a mud 
wall; the garrison were between two and three 
thousand poligars. In the evening the General sent 
three battalions to attack the pettah ; the enemy, 
after a scattered fire, ran to shelter themselves in the 
pagoda. By some mistake, without orders, the 



IVAR WITH HAIDAR ALI 



^3 



foremost battalion pursued them to the gates ; which 
finding shut, they brought up a twelve-pounder 
against them. The second shot burst open the outer 
gate. The sponge staff was fired out of the gun in 
the hurry, and the man who carried the match was 
not to be found. In this exigency, Captain Moorhouse 
of the artillery, with great resolution, loaded and 
discharged twice, by the help of a musket, and made 
a breach in the second gate large enough to allow one 
man to go through at a time. The sepoys rushed in ; 
the space between the two inner gates was in a moment 
full of them ; they did not observe, midway between 
the two, a flight of steps which led to the rampart. 
The garrison, every moment dreading the assault, 
called for quarter, but their voice was not to be 
distinguished in the general tumult which now ensued. 
For, some straw having taken fire, caught the clothes 
of the sepoys, who were crowded between the gate- 
ways, and every one pressing back to avoid suffo- 
cation and the fire of the enemy (which was now 
redoubled at the sight of their disaster,) many of 
them were scorched and burned to death, and those 
who escaped hurried away without attempting to bring- 
off the twelve-pounder. Six officers and nearly 150 
men were killed and wounded in this unfortunate affair. 

*The General, who was in the pettah at the 
time, ordered some pieces of cannon to batter the 
wall. A fine brass eighteen-pounder was ruined 
without making any breach; and day beginning to 
dawn, the troops returned to camp. All thoughts 



24 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



were now relinquished of taking the place by assault ; 
and there being no battering-guns with the army, it 
was resolved to send for them to Cuddalore ; and, 
after taking the rice out of the pettah, to proceed to 
Porto Novo to cover their landing. We marched to 
this place on the 22nd [June], and the same day Mir 
Sahib encamped five miles to the westward of it. 

'Sir Edward Hughes arrived on the 24th with 
the battering train ; and, whilst rafts were preparing 
to carry it up the river to Chilambaram, our attention 
was called to an object of much greater consequence. 
For, at daybreak on the 28th, the sound of the 
reveille was heard in front of the camp, and the 
rising of the sun discovered to our view the plain for 
several miles covered with the tents of the Mysorean 
army. Haidar was preparing to besiege Trichinopoli, 
when the commandant of Chilambaram advised him 
of his having repulsed the English, and that they had 
retreated to Porto Novo. The time he had so long 
wished for he imagined was now come, when he 
might, in one day, destroy the only army that 
remained to oppose him. His expedition showed his 
confidence of success — he marched seventy miles in 
two days, and encamped at Mtitapolliam, four miles 
from Porto Novo. His troops were no less sanguine 
than himself. Some came near enough to the grand 
guard to warn them of the fate that awaited them so 
soon as they should come forth to the plain. They 
bid the foragers, who kept out of reach of the English 
sentries, not fear them, but go wherever they could 



WAR WITH HAIDAR AU 



^5 



find the greatest plenty, for that they would not dare 
to touch them when they themselves were in the 
power of Haidar. This language afforded little comfort 
to the desponding part of our army, who, when they 
beheld the great extent of the Mysorean camp, and 
the numerous bodies of horse and foot that moved 
about it, could not avoid thinking Haidar as for- 
midable as he was represented by those who had 
escaped from Perambakam, and entertaining the 
strongest apprehensions of the event of the approaching 
engagement. But those who considered our artillery, 
served by men whom Mr. Bellecombe had pronounced 
superior to everything he had seen in Europe, the 
perfect discipline of the troops, and their confidence in 
their commander, regarded Haidar offering battle as the 
most fortunate circumstance that could have happened. 

'A little after daybreak, on the ist of July, the 
General drew up the army in a large plain which lay 
between the two camps. On his right was a chain of 
sand-hills, which ran along the coast at the distance 
of about a mile from the sea in the rear ; and on the 
left, woods and enclosures, but with an open space 
between. Two miles to the left ran another chain 
of sand-hills, parallel to the former, and behind them 
lay the principal part of the Mysorean army. At 
eight o'clock the enemy opened eight guns, in two 
batteries which they had raised among the sand- 
banks ; but they were too distant to do much 
execution. The General, having reconnoitred their 
situation, saw that it was their wish that he should 



26 



SII^ THOMAS MUNRO 



advance across the plain, under the fire of the batteries 
they had constructed on every side, that their cavalry 
might be able to take advantage of the impression. 
He therefore made no change in his disposition, but 
kept his ground, offering them battle till eleven 
o'clock, when, finding they did not choose to make 
the attack, he moved to the rear of the sand-hills on 
his right. The army marched in two lines, the first 
commanded by General Munro, the second by General 
Stuart. In the first were all the European infantry, 
with six battalions of sepoys equally divided on the 
flanks ; in the second, four battalions of sepoys. One- 
half of the cavalry formed on the right of the first, the 
other half on the left of the second line. The baggage, 
guarded by a regiment of horse and a battalion of 
sepoys, remained on the beach near Porto Novo. 
The army, after marching a mile between the sand- 
banks and the sea-shore, again defiled by an opening 
into the plain, where the enemy's infantry and artillery 
were drawn up waiting our coming ; but their horse 
still remained behind the sand-hills. 

\ In an hour the whole of the first line got into the 
plain, where they formed under the fire of forty pieces 
of cannon. Not a shot was returned ; the guns were 
not even unlimbered ; but everything remained as if 
the army had been to continue its march. The enemy, 
encouraged by this, which they attributed to an 
intention of escaping, brought their artillery nearer. 
Every shot now took effect. The General rode along 
the front, encouraging every one to patience, and 



JVAR WITH HAIDAR Alt a; 

reserve their fire till they were ordered to part with 
it. He only waited accounts from the second line. 
An aide-de-camp from General Stuart told him that 
he had taken possession of the sand-hills ; he im- 
mediately gave orders to advance, and to open all the 
guns. The artillerymen, who had been so long re- 
strained, now exerted themselves. Their fire was so 
heavy that nothing could stand before it. The 
Mysorean infantry only stayed to give one discharge ; 
the drivers hurried away the cannon, while the horse 
attempted to charge ; but they were always broken 
before they reached the line. In a quarter of an hour 
the whole were dispersed. 

' While the first line were engaged with Haidar, the 
second was attacked by Tipti and Lally, who were 
repulsed by General Stuart in all their attacks to 
drive him from the sand-hills ; and when Haidar fled, 
they followed him. A deep watercourse saved the 
enemy from pursuit, for we were six hours in crossing 
it, which they, from the number and goodness of their 
cattle, had done in one. Our army was 7,500 fighting 
men. The force of the enemy has been variously 
estimated. A Portuguese captain, who deserted to us 
during the action, and who pretended to have seen 
the returns, made it amount to 300,000 or 400,000 (sic), 
(I do not remember which ; it makes little difference) 
men that could fight. However it may be, it is 
certain that their numbers were such that the most 
exact discipline never could have brought the whole 
into action. 



28 



SIJ^ THOMAS MUNRO 



* I am sure you will be tired before you get to the 
end of this long story ; but I have been particular, 
because it was this action that first gave a turn 
to our affairs in the Karnatik, and because it was 
considered at the time as the most critical battle ^ that 
had been for a long time fought in India. For what 
could be a more serious matter than to engage an 
enemy so superior in numbers, whose great strength 
in horse enabled him to take every advantage, and 
when there was no alternative between victory and 
entire ruin ? Had we been once broken, it would have 
been impossible ever to have rallied when surrounded 
by such a multitude of cavalry. It was known after- 
wards that when the action began Haidar issued an 
order to take no prisoners/ 

Haidar All died in December, 1782. ^His son 
Tipu/ writes Munro, * succeeded to his power without 
any of those violences so common in Indian govern- 
ments. He soon afterwards took the field, joined by 
a considerable body of French, and prepared to besiege 
Wandiwash.' Early in 1783 the English destroyed 
the fortifications of Wandiwash and provisioned 
Vellore ; but meantime Tipii had withdrawn, march- 
ing off to his own country on hearing of the progress 
of General Mathews on the Malabar coast. In July 
Munro was present at the battle of Cuddalore, when 
the French under M. Bussy were defeated by General 
Stuart. Munro acted as aide-de-camp to the field- 
ofiicer of the day, and in concluding his account of 

^ The battle of Porto Novo, July i. 1781. 



IVAJ^ WITH HAIDAR aU 



29 



the battle he observes, ' There seemed no connexion in 
our movements ; every one was at a loss what to do, 
and nothing saved our army from a total defeat 
but the French being, like ourselves, without a 
general.' News of the peace in Europe, after the treaty 
of Versailles, led to a cessation of hostilities with the 
French ^ ; and the war in the Karnatik was brought 
to a close by the treaty with Tipu in March, 1784. 

The next few years of Munro's service were un- 
eventful. He, however^ saw a good deal of the Madras 
Presidency, being quartered successively in Madura, 
Tanjore, Fort St. George, Kasimkota near Vizaga- 
patam, and at Vellore. During these years Munro 
spent his leisure in the study of Hindustani and 
Persian and the literature of those languages. Of 
Persian he seems to have been a great reader; and 
a letter of his to a friend in Glasgow about the 
beginning of 1787 contains not only some interesting 
criticisms on Persian writers^ but a translation of the 
story of Shy lock, which he says he found in a Persian 
manuscript. This translation was published a few 
years after in Malone's edition of Shakespeare in the 
notes to the Merchant of Venice, with the remark that 
* in a Persian manuscript in the possession of Ensign 
Thomas Munro of the first battalion of Sepoys, now at 

^ * The suspension of arms was most unfortunate for the French. 
The army of Stuart before Cuddalore represented the last hope of 
the English in Southern India. An attack of the French in force 
could scarcely have failed to annihilate it. With its destruction 
Madras and all Southern India would have passed over to the 
French.' Malleson's Fined French Struggles in Indian p. 74. 



30 S7I^ THOMAS MUNRO 

Tanjore, is found the following story of a Jew and 
aMusalman ; the translation was made by Mr. Munro, 
and kindly communicated to me by Daniel Braitt- 
waite, Esq.' 

In August, 1788, Muni'o, now a lieutenant, was 
appointed an assistant in the Intelligence Department, 
under Captain Kead, and was attached to the head- 
quarters of the force sent to take possession of the 
province of Guntur ceded by the Nizam of the 
Deccan. 'The most important public transaction,' 
he says in a letter to his father in January, 1789, 
* since my last, is the surrender of the Guntur Circar 
to the Company, by which it became possessed of the 
whole coast from Jagannath to Cape Comorin.' 

Of this important event, by which the annexation 
of the Districts now known as Kistna, Godavari, 
Vizagapatam, and Ganjam — or the Northern Circars 
— was completed, he wrote the following account, 
and gives expression to his opinion on the policy 
by which it was effected. 

' The Nizam made himself master of that province 
soon after Haidar's invasion of the Karnatik, as an 
equivalent for the arrears of peshcush [tribute] due to 
him by the Company for the other Circars. The Com- 
pany not being at that time in a situation to compel 
him to restore it, he kept it quietly for several years ; 
and though Sir John Macpherson sent Mr. Johnson to 
Haidarabad to demand the restitution of it, he paid 
little attention to his request. But the Company, 
seeing their affairs again in a respectable situation. 



IVAR WITH HAIDAR Alt 31 

determined to compel him to deliver what they 
considered as their own property. They ordered 
Lord Cornwallis to intimate to him that they were 
willing to discharge their arrears of peshcush, and to 
pay it regularly in future, but that the restoration of 
Guntiir must be the price ; and that, in case of 
refusal or delay, their troops would enter the province 
in fourteen days. 

' Colonel Edington, with a detachment of a regiment 
of Europeans and four battalions of sepoys, being 
already arrived on the boundary of the Company's 
territory, on the 9th of September [1788], Captain 
Kennaway^ from Calcutta, presented to the Nizam 
a paper, containing a demand of the surrender of the 
Circar, a promise of a faithful discharge of all arrears, 
as well as regular payment hereafter, and notifying the 
time limited for the advance of the Company's troops. 
The Nizam, unable singly to contend with such an 
antagonist, and despairing of assistance from any of 
the country powers, (for Tipu was unwilling to 
make any movement without the co-operation of 
France, and the Marathas were employed in expelling 
a usurper, and reinstating Shah Alam on the throne 
of Delhi,) submitted to the terms imposed upon him. 
He instantly issued orders for his forces to evacuate 
Guntiir, but, at the same time, protested against the 
violence and injustice of the Company. " They ought," 
he said, to have paid their arrears previous to their 
insisting on the restoration of the country; — and 
what security have I," he asked, " that they will be 



3^ 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



more punctual in future in discharging their peshcush 
than they have hitherto been ? " 

* It would certainly have been a more honourable 
and manly policy to have paid him, first, all his just 
claims, and then to have made the requisition. The 
consequence would have been the same, with this 
difference, that adopting this method would have 
raised, while following the other has degraded, the 
name of Englishmen ! 

' The spirit of the nation humbled in the West by 
an unfortunate war, seems to have extended its effects 
to this country, in stooping to a timid, where a bold 
policy would have been equally safe. The appre- 
hension, if any existed, was groundless, that the 
Nizam, if he had received the money, might have 
employed it against the Company, and refused to 
give up the province. The sum did not amount to 
the quarter of one year s revenue ; and had it been 
ten times more, it would have availed little ; for to 
a weak and distracted government, without an army, 
money is but a poor defence against a warlike and 
powerful enemy. He knew that resistance would be 
in vain, and that it would serve no other purpose 
than to afford the Company a pretence for withholding 
the peshcush of the other provinces. He was too 
wise to give them such an opening, and was no doubt 
happy to save, in some measure, his credit, by the 
consideration that they had some claim to the 
possession of Guntiir. His reply to Captain Kenna- 
way's demand is sensible and candid, — it is the 



WAR WITH HAIDAR ALT . 33 

language of a prince, who feels that he is insulted 
without having the power to avenge himself. The 
perusal of it is affecting — it displays the humiliation 
of a great prince compelled to sacrifice his dignity to 
necessity, and to suppress his indignation at being 
told that this is done with his own approbation, and 
purely from motives of friendship, by the English. 
If I can get a sight of the original, and a few spare 
hours, I shall send you a translation of it.' 

But Munro was a student and critic not only of 
what was going on about him in India, but of con- 
temporary history and politics in Europe, and his 
remarks and views on the events then happening 
may still be read with interest. In a letter to his 
friend Foulis, from Ambiir in April, 1790^ he writes 
as follows of the likelihood of France becoming 
a successful rival to Great Britain, and even wresting 
from her all her foreign possessions : — 

'If, like you, I were liable to be possessed by blue 
or any other devils, the situation of affairs in France 
would be more likely than anything besides to 
produce such an event ; for as a friend to the glory 
and prosperity of Britain, I cannot behold with in- 
difference the restoration of French liberty. That 
nation, already too powerful, wanted nothing but 
a better form of government to render her the arbiter 
of Europe ; and the convulsions attending so re- 
markable a revolution having subsided, France will 
soon assume that rank to which she is entitled from 
her resources, and the enterprising genius of her 





34 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



inhabitants. You and I may live to see the day 
when the fairest provinces of India (reversing Mr. 
Gibbon's boast) shall not be subject to a company of 
merchants of a remote island in the Northern Ocean ; 
but when, perhaps, those merchants and their country- 
men, being confined by the superior power of their 
rival to the narrow limits of their native isle, shall 
sink into the insignificance from which they were 
raised by the empire of the sea. With the freedom 
of our Government we may retain our orators, our 
poets, and historians, but our domestic transactions 
will aff'ord few splendid materials for the exercise of 
genius or fancy, and with the loss of empire we must 
relinquish, however reluctantly, the idea so long and 
so fondly cherished by us all, of our holding the 
balance of power. 

'In looking forward to the rising grandeur of France, 
I am not influenced by any groundless despondency, 
but I judge of the future from the past. • And when 
I consider that after the Revolution she opposed for 
some time, successfully, the united naval powers of 
England and Holland ; that she did the same under 
Queen Anne, and under George II till 1759; 
notwithstanding the almost total annihilation of her 
marine in that war — in the East, in Europe, America, 
and the West Indies — she never shunned, and some- 
times sought our fleets^ and met us in this country 
(the East Indies), if not with superior force, at least 
writh superior fortune, and perhaps bravery ; that she 
made all those exertions when she was left to the 



PVAR WITH HAIDAR ALT 



35 



mercy of capricious women, who made and unmade 
ministers, generals, and admirals almost every month, 
and when commerce and even the naval profession 
met with no encouragement ; I cannot but fear that 
when she shall direct her attention to the sea, she 
may wrest from Britain her empire of that element, 
and strip her of all her foreign possessions. When 
two countries have made nearly the same progress 
in the arts of peace and war, and when there is no 
material difference in the constitution of their govern- 
ments, that which possesses the greatest population, 
and the most numerous resources from the fertility of 
her soil, must in the end prevail over her rival. But 
let us leave this struggle with France, which I hope 
is yet at some distance, and talk of the affair which 
we have now upon our hands with Tipii, &c/ 

Turning now from Munro's descriptions of campaigns 
and views on the politics of the day, we have the 
following graphic account of his daily life as a 
subaltern in India, and of the hardships and actual 
poverty he had to endure. The following is from 
a letter to his sister, dated Madras, January 23, 1789, 

' I have often wished that you were transported for 
a few hours to my room, to be cured of your Western 
notions of Eastern luxury, to witness the forlorn 
condition of old bachelor Indian officers ; and to give 
them also some comfort in a consolatory fragment. 
You seem to think that they live like those satraps 
that you have read of in plays ; and that I in 
particular hold my state in prodigious splendour and 

c 2 



6-/7? THOMAS MUNRO 



magnificence — that I never go abroad unless upon an 
elephant, surrounded with a crowd of slaves — that 
I am arrayed in silken robes, and that most of my 
time is spent in reclining on a sofa, listening to soft 
music, while I am fanned by my officious pages ; or 
in dreaming, like Richard, under a canopy of state. 

' But while you rejoice in my imaginary greatness, 
I am most likely stretched on a mat, instead of my 
real couch ; and walking in an old coat, and a ragged 
shirt, in the noonday sun, instead of looking down 
from my elephant, invested in my royal garments. 
You may not believe me when I tell you, that I never 
experienced hunger or thirst, fatigue or poverty, till 
I came to India — that since then, I have frequently 
met with the first three, and that the last has been 
my constant companion. If you wish for proofs, here 
they are. I was three years in India before I was 
master of any other pillow than a book or a cartridge- 
pouch ; my bed was a piece of canvas, stretched on 
four cross-sticks, whose only ornament was the great- 
coat that I brought from England, which, by a lucky 
invention, I turned into a blanket in the cold weather, 
by thrusting my legs into the sleeves, and drawing 
the skirts over my head. In this situation I lay, 
like FalstafF in the basket — hilt to point — and very 
comfortable, I assure you, all but my feet. For the 
tailor, not having foreseen the various uses to which 
this piece of dress might be applied, had cut the cloth 
so short, that I never could, with all my ingenuity, 
bring both ends under cover. Whatever I gained by 



ivajR with haidar alI 



37 



drawing up my legs, I lost by exposing my neck ; 
and I generally chose rather to cool my heels than 
my head. This bed served me till Alexander went 
last to Bengal, when he gave me an Europe camp- 
couch. On this great occasion I bought a pillow and 
a carpet to lay under me, but the unfortunate curtains 
were condemned to make pillow-cases and towels ; 
and now, for the first time in India, I laid my head 
on a pillow. 

' But this was too much good fortune to bear w^ith 
moderation. I began to grow proud, and resolved to 
live in great style! For this purpose I bought two 
table-spoons, and two tea-spoons, and another chair — 
for I had but one before — a table, and two table-cloths. 
But my prosperity was of short duration^ for, in less 
than three months, I lost three of my spoons, and one 
of my chairs was broken by one of John Napier's 
companions. This great blow reduced me to my 
original obscurity, from which all my attempts to 
emerge have hitherto proved in vain. 

'My dress has not been more splendid than my 
furniture. I have never been able to keep it all of 
a piece ; it grows tattered in one quarter, while I am 
establishing funds to repair it in another; and my 
coat is in danger of losing the sleeves, while I am 
pulling it off to try on a new waistcoat. 

' My travelling expeditions have never been performed 
with much grandeur or ease. My only conveyance is 
an old horse, who is now so weak, that, in all my 
journeys, I am always obliged to walk two-thirds 



38 



SII^ THOMAS MUNRO 



of the way ; and if he were to die, I would give my 
kingdom for another, and find nobody to accept of 
my offer. Till I came here, I hardly knew what 
walking was. I have often walked from sunrise to 
sunset, without any other refreshment than a drink 
of water; and I have traversed on foot, in different 
directions^ almost every part of the country between 
Vizagapatam and Madura, a distance of eight hundred 
miles. 

' My house at Vellore consists of a hall and a bed- 
room. The former contains but one piece of furniture 
— a table ; but on entering the latter, you would see 
me at my writing-table, seated on my only chair, 
with the old couch behind me, adorned with a carpet 
and pillow ; on my right hand a chest of books, and 
on my left two trunks ; one for holding about a dozen 
changes of linen, and the other about half a dozen of 
plates, knives and forks, &c. This stock will be 
augmented on my return by a great acquisition, 
which I have made here — six tea-spoons and a pair 
of candlesticks, bought at the sale of the furniture 
of a family going to Europe. I generally dine at 
home about three times in a month, and then my 
house looks very superb ; every person on this occasion 
bringing his own chair and plate. 

' As I have already told you that I am not Aladdin 
with the wonderful lamp, and that, therefore, I keep 
neither pages, nor musicians, nor elephants, you may 
perhaps, after having had so particular an account of 
my possessions, wish to know in what manner I pass 



IVAR WITH HAIDAR aU 39 



my leisure hours. How this was done some years 
ago I scarcely remember ; but for the last two years 
that I have been at Vellore I could relate the manner 
in which almost every hour was employed. 

^ Seven was our breakfast-hour, immediately after 
which I walked out, generally alone ; and, though ten 
was my usual hour of returning, I often wandered 
about the fields till one. But when I adhered to the 
rules I had laid down for myself, I came home at 
ten, and read Persian till one, when I dressed and 
went to dinner. Came back before three ; sometimes 
slept half an hour, sometimes not, and then wrote or 
talked Persian and Moors till sunset, when I went to 
the parade, from whence I set out with a party to 
visit the ladies, or to play cards at the commanding- 
ofiicer s. This engaged me till nine, when I went to 
supper, or more frequently returned home without it, 
and read politics and nonsense till bed-time, which, 
according to the entertainment which I met with, 
happened sometime between eleven and two. I should 
have mentioned fives as an amusement that occupied 
a great deal of my time. I seldom missed above two 
days in a week at this game, and always played two 
or three hours at a time, which were taken from my 
walks and Persian studies. Men are much more 
boyish in this country than in Europe, and, in spite 
of the sun, take, I believe, more exercise, and are, 
however strange it may appear, better able to undergo 
fatigue, unless on some remarkably hot days. I never 
could make half the violent exertions at home that 



40 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



I have made here. My daily walks were usually 
from four to twelve miles, which I thought a good 
journey in Scotland. You see children of five or six 
years of age following the camp, and marching fifteen 
or sixteen miles a day with the same ease as their 
fathers. 

' I have almost as much local attachment to Vellore 
as to Northside; for it is situated in a delightful 
valley, containing all the varieties of meadows, groves, 
and rice-fields. On every side you see romantic hills, 
some near, some distant, continually assuming new 
forms as you advance or retire. All around you is 
classic ground in the history of this country; for 
almost every spot has been the residence of some 
powerful family, now reduced to misery by frequent 
revolutions, or the scene of some important action in 
former wars. 

' Not with more veneration should I visit the field 
of Marathon, or the Capitol of the ancient Romans, 
than I tread on this hallowed ground. For, in sitting 
under a tree, and while listening to the disastrous 
tale of some noble Moorman, who relates to you the 
ruin of his fortune and his family, to contemplate by 
what strange vicissitudes you and he, who are both 
originally from the North of Asia, after a separation 
of so many ages, coming from the most opposite 
quarters, again meet in Hindustan to contend with 
each other — this is to me wonderfully solemn and 
affecting.' 

Yet, while suffering such privations as he has thus 



IVAR WITH HAIDAR ALT 



41 



so graphically described, and while, as he puts it, 
' poverty was his constant companion/ Munro and his 
brother Alexander, also in India, made up between 
them £100 a year which they regularly remitted to 
their father, who from a state of affluence had fallen 
into greater distress than when they left home, 
and was now with his family mainly dependent on 
his sons' help. The letters already quoted have shown 
what a master of style Munro was, whether in nar- 
rative, description, or banter. But for tenderness 
and beauty few published letters could equal those 
which he wrote to his mother, such as that on the 
death of one of his brothers, or the following, in which 
at a previous date he refers to his father's affairs and 
his efforts to help him : — 

' Though my situation is not such as I might have 
expected, had Sir Eyre Coote lived, yet I still look 
forward with hope, and do not despair of seeing it 
bettered. The only cause I have for repining, is my 
inability to assist my father as I wish, and the hearing 
that your spirits are so much affected by the loss of 
his fortune. Yet I cannot but think that you have 
many reasons for rejoicing. None of your children 
have been taken from you ; and though they cannot 
put you in a state of affluence, they can place you 
beyond the reach of want. The time will come, 
I hope, when they will be able to do more, and to 
make the latter days of your life as happy as the 
first. When I compare your situation with that of 
most mothers whom I remember, I think that you 



42 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



have as little reason for grieving as any of them. 
Many that are rich, are unhappy in their families. 
The loss of fortune is but a partial evil ; you are in 
no danger of experiencing the much heavier one — of 
having unthankful children. The friends that deserted 
you with your fortune were unworthy of your society ; 
those that deserved your friendship have not forsaken 
you. 

' Alexander and I have agreed to remit my father 
£ioo a year between us. If the arrears which Lord 
Macartney detained are paid, I will send £200 in the 
course of the year 1786. John Napier will tell you 
the reason why it was not in my power to send more.' 



CHAPTER III 

War with Tipu 

The second Mysore War, or the war with Tipii 
Sultan, 1790-1792, was brought about by Tipu s in- 
vasion of Travancore. The Dutch having sold the 
fort of Cranganore to the Raja of Travancore, Tipu 
asserted that the Raja of Cochin, being his vassal, had 
no right to sell it to the Dutch, nor they to another 
power. The British East India Company then in- 
formed him that their ally, the Raja of Travancore, 
was much alarmed at his assembling an army on his 
frontiers. Tipu replied that nothing was further from 
his thoughts than war. But as soon as he had sup- 
pressed a rebellion among the Nairs in Malabar, he 
passed into Travancore, and, though repulsed at first, 
soon succeeded in storming the Travancore lines ^. This 
was immediately followed by a declaration of war by 
the British. Hitherto the policy had been to regard 
Tipu as a useful buffer against the Maiathas, but 
on his invasion of Travancore a triple alliance was 
formed against him by the Company, the Marathas, 
and the Nizam. A few weeks before the declaration 

* Fortified barriers erected by the Rajas of Cochin and Travancore 
about 1775 ; see Wilks' History of Mysore^ iii. 31-34. 



44 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



of war, Munro, then stationed at Ambiir, in writing 
to his father, January 17, 1790, gave his opinion 
on the state of affairs and his reasons for differing 
from the line of policy pursued as regards Tipii. There 
is, however, space for only a few extracts from this 
interesting letter. 

'It will require some time to assemble an army able 
to face the enemy ; and before such an army can be 
put in motion, Tipii may be in actual possession of 
Travancore and all the southern countries. We have 
derived but little benefit from experience and mis- 
fortune. The year 1790 now sees us as unprepared 
as the year 1780 did for war. We have added to the 
numbers of our army, but not to its strength, by 
bringing so many regiments from Europe. For so 
great a number of Europeans serve only to retard the 
operations of an Indian army, less by their inability 
to endure the fatigues of the field, than by the great 
quantity of cattle which is requisite to convey their 
provisions and equipage. No addition has been made 
to our sepoys, on whom we have long depended, and 
may still with security depend, for the preservation 
of our empire in this country. We have, therefore, 
made our army more expensive and numerous, though 
less calculated for the purposes of war, than formerly, 
both on account of the multitude of Europeans and 
the want of cattle. We keep up, it is true, a small 
establishment of bullocks, but hardly sufficient to draw 
the guns, far less to transport the prodigious quantity 
of stores and provisions which follow an army. Had 



IVAR WITH TIPJJ 



45 



half the money, idly thrown away in sending a naval 
squadron and four additional regiments to this country, 
been employed in increasing the establishment of 
sepoys and cattle, we should then have had an army 
which, for its lightness and capacity for action, would 
have broken the power of our formidable rival. 

'Exclusive of the unwieldiness of our army, we 
shall commence the war under the disadvantage of 
a want of magazines, for we have none at present but 
at Madras. Since the conclusion of the late war, we 
have acted as if we had been to enjoy a perpetual 
peace. . . . 

* It has long been admitted as an axiom in politics, 
by the directors of our affairs, both at home and in 
this country, that Tipii ought to be preserved as 
a barrier between us and the Marathas. This notion 
seems to have been at first adopted without much 
knowledge of the subject, and to have been followed 
without much consideration. It is to support a 
powerful and ambitious enemy, to defend us from 
a weak one. From the neighbourhood of the one, we 
have everything to apprehend ; from that of the 
other, nothing. This will be clearly understood by 
reflecting for a moment on the different constitutions 
of the two governments. The one, the most simple 
and despotic monarchy in the world, in which every 
department, civil and military, possesses the regu- 
larity and system communicated to it by the genius 
of Haidar, and in which all pretensions derived from 
high birth being discouraged, all independent* chiefs 



46 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



and zaminddrs subjected or extirpated, justice severely 
and impartially administered to every class of people, 
a numerous and well-disciplined army kept up, and 
almost every employment of trust or consequence 
conferred on men raised from obscurity, gives to the 
government a vigour hitherto unexampled in India. 
The other, composed of a confederacy of independent 
chiefs, possessing extensive dominions and numerous 
armies, now acting in concert, now jealous of each 
other, and acting only for their own advantage, and at 
all times liable to be detached from the public cause by 
the most distant prospect of private gain, can never 
be a very dangerous enemy to the English. The first 
is a government of conquest ; the last, merely of 
plunder and depredation. The character of vigour 
has been so strongly impressed on the Mysore 
government by the abilities of its founders, that it 
may retain it, even under the reign of a weak prince, 
or a minor ; but the strength of the supreme Maratha 
government is continually varying, according to the 
disposition of its different members, who sometimes 
strengthen it by union, and sometimes weaken it by 
defection, or by dividing their territories among their 
children. 

* That nation likewise maintains no standing army, 
adopts none of the European modes of discipline, and 
is impelled by no religious tenets to attempt the 
extirpation of men of a different belief. But Tipu 
supports an army of iio,oco men, a large body of 
which is composed of slaves, called chelas, trained on 



IV A R IVITH TIPtr 



A7 



the plan of the Turkish janizaries, and follows with 
the greatest eagerness every principle of European 
tactics. He has even gone so far as to publish a book 
for the use of his officers, a copy of which is now in 
my possession, containing, besides the evolutions and 
manoeuvres usually practised in Europe, some of his 
own invention, together with directions for marching, 
encamping, and fighting ; and he is, with all his extra- 
ordinary talents, a furious zealot in a faith which founds 
eternal happiness on the destruction of other sects. 

' An opportunity for humbling an enemy so danger- 
ous, and so implacable, has now appeared ; and had 
we been in the state of readiness for action which 
good policy demanded of us, one army might have 
entered the Coimbatore country and another sat down 
before Bangalore, almost before he could have opposed 
us. But so far from this, no army is yet likely to 
assemble ; and it was with much difficulty that 
Colonel Musgrave prevailed on the Governor to send 
the 36th regiment, two battalions of sepoys, one 
regiment of cavalry, and a company of artillery, to 
Trichinopoli. But the troops there^ even when joined 
by this detachment, will not form an army that will 
be able to act offensively. 

' Our operations will be still farther impeded by 
the reference which it will, most likely, be judged 
expedient to make to Bengal, before we proceed on an 
offensive war. The public look impatiently for the 
arrival of ^, and seem to be sanguine in their 

^ Probably Lord Cornwallis is referred to. 



48 



6-/7? THOMAS MUNRO 



expectations of the happy effects to be derived from 
the ability and exertions of so distinguished a char- 
acter. Experience might have taught them, at least 
in this country, to build less on great names ; for 
they have seen so many impositions on the under- 
standing of mankind, invested with high offices, and 
recommended by common fame, as were enough to pre- 
judice them against any man who should come among 
them with such credentials.' 

Throughout the war with Tipii, Lieut. Munro was 
actively engaged, and in his Memorandum of Services 
he specifies the various engagements and duties in 
which he took part. He was in command of a body 
of sepoys called the Prize Guard, was present when 
the fort of Bangalore was taken by storm, was at the* 
battle of Karigal, at the siege of Seringapatam, and 
after the peace in March, 1792, he marched with the 
detachment in charge of the two sons of Tipii who were 
sent as hostages to Madras. 

In long letters to his father, Munro describes 
the events of the war, and with minute detail the 
operations of the British troops at Palghat, in 
Malabar, and at Satyamangalam, Erode, Karur, 
Dharapuram, and Coimbatore, all in the Coimbatore 
District ; and at Tirupattir, Krishnagiri, and Kaveri- 
patam in the Salem District. Commenting on 
the two days' fighting with Tipu at Satyaman- 
galam he observes : * There seems to be a fatality 
sometimes attending the greatest geniuses, which 
deadens the energy of their minds, and reduces 



WAR WITH TIPU 



49 



them to the level of common men, at the moment 
when their best concerted schemes are going to be 
crowned with success. Had Tipii acted with more 
decision on September 14, by bringing up more 
guns and pressing Floyd closer, he would probably 
have defeated him ; or, if not that day, he would un- 
doubtedly have done it the following ; for not a man 
of the detachment had eaten or slept for two days, 
and they could have made little resistance to another 
attack. The General, who had gone by mistake, 
for it would be unjust to impute it to design, towards 
Dhannayakankota, could not have been near to support 
them ; and after their defeat, he would himself have 
fallen an easy sacrifice, for he had only three battalions 
of sepoys, and two of Europeans, without their flank 
companies ; and even Colonel Stuart would have been 
fortunate had he escaped with his detachment from 
Palghat. The Colonel was so much convinced that 
these things would take place, that, on receiving in- 
formation from the General of Floyd^s situation, he 
made preparations for retreating (on the first accounts 
of the loss of the army, which he expected every 
moment to learn) with all his force to Cochin. Tipu, 
fortunately for us, did not act with his usual 
vigour, and the southern army escaped from destruc- 
tion.' 

Munro's relations, naturally proud of his graphic 
accounts of the war with Tipii, published one of his 
letters in a London paper. On hearing of this he 
destroyed what he calls a long treatise on the war. 

D 



50 



Sm THOMAS MUNRO 



^ There was no use in keeping it/ he writes, *when 
I could not venture to send it to those for whose 
amusement it was intended. It mentioned what 
ought to have been the general plan of the war; 
explained the impolicy of commencing it in Coim- 
batore, which I believe I took notice of before General 
Medows joined the army ; the propriety of advancing 
from the Karnatik to Bangalore; pointed out the 
mistake of the Seringapatam expedition as well as 
the manner in which it ought to be next attempted 
and the government of Tipii entirely overthrown ; and 
by a discussion of the nature of Maratha armies, their 
method of marching, and the way of supplying them 
with provisions, showed how little cause there was of 
apprehension from them/ 

The details he gives of the siege of Bangalore and 
of the subsequent operations are published in Gleig's 
Life, and are well worth reading, but are too long to 
quote here. So also are the letters he wi'ote when the 
idea was entertained of a speedy accommodation with 
Tipii. Against this he argued strongly, and derided 
the policy of maintaining in India the balance of 
power. 'Men read books,' he wrote, *and because 
they find that all warlike nations have had their 
downfall, they declaim against conquest as not only 
dangerous but unprofitable, from a supposition that 
the increase of territory must be always followed by 
a proportionable increase of expense. This may be 
true when a nation is surrounded by warlike neigh- 
bours, which, while it gains a province on one 



WAR WITH TIPJJ 



51 



^ide, loses as much on the other. But there are times 
and situations where conquest not only brings a 
revenue greatly beyond its expenses, but brings also 
additional security. The kings of England knew 
this when they attempted the reduction of Scotland. 
There is, however, another example which would 
apply better to our position in the Karnatik. When 
Spain was, in the last century, engaged in a war 
with France and Portugal, would not the possession 
of the latter country have added much to her 
strength and security^ by removing every possibility 
of attack from the frontiers of France ? By subduing 
the country below the Ghats, from Palgatcherry to 
Ambur, we have nothing to fear. The sea is behind us, 
^nd in front we gain a stronger barrier than we now 
have, which would enable us to defend the country 
i^ith the present military establishment ; but as this, 
with the civil expenses, would be nearly equal to 
the whole revenue of the country, let us advance to 
the Kistna, and we shall triple our revenue with- 
out having occasion to add much to our mihtary 
force ; because our barrier will then be both stronger 
and shorter than it is now.' 

In the following letter, dated April iz8, 1792, 
Munro criticizes the negotiations with Tipii and the 
terms of the peace that were entered into. Sub- 
sequent events showed how correct was his view of 
the situation and his foresight as to the steps that 
should have been taken to prevent a recurrence of 
hostilities on the part of Tipu. 

D 1 



52 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



' I am so little pleased with the peace, that I cannot 
without difficulty bring myself either to talk or write= 
of it. When hostilities ceased, Tipii had no place 
above the Ghats from Gurramkonda to Seringa- 
patam. Besides the former of these forts, he had Gooty, 
Bellary, and Chitaldrug; but all either so distant 
from the scene of action, or so weakly garrisoned, as- 
to give him no benefit from holding them. He had 
likewise Krishnagiri, in the Baramahal, which was, 
however, at this time, of no consequence in the 
operations of the war, because its garrison was not 
strong enough to attack convoys coming from the 
Karnatik, and because the Peddanaididurgum Pass, in 
the neighbourhood of Ambiir, being repaired, all 
convoys, after the month of September, took that road 
as the most direct to the army. He had lost the 
greatest part of his troops by death or desertion in 
the attack of his lines, and he himself had lost his 
haughtiness, his courage, and almost every quality 
that distinguished him, but his cruelty, which he 
continued to exercise every day on many of the 
principal officers of his government, particularly 
Brahmans, on the most idle suspicions. The remains of 
his infantry were in the fort, and his cavalry on the 
glacis. He slept at night in the fort, in the great 
mosque, — for he never visited his palace after his 
defeat on the 6th ; and during the day he stayed on 
the outside amongst his horsemen, under a private 
tent, from whence he observed, with a sullen despair, 
his enemies closing in upon him from every side — the 



^AR WITH TlPiy 



53 



Karnatik army, on the north bank of the river, with 
their approaches, which even on this side were carried 
within four thousand yards of the wall, and a strong de- 
tachment occupying the pettah, and half the island — 
the Bombay army on the south side, about four miles 
distant, on the Periyapatna road — Parasu Earn Bhao, 
after ravaging Biddanore, advancing by rapid marches 
to fill up the interval between the right of the Bombay 
and the left of the Karnatik army, and complete the 
blockade — and no possibility of protracting the siege, 
^ven by the most determined resistance, beyond fifteen 
days. In this situation, when extirpation, which had 
been so long talked of, seemed to be so near, the 
moderation or the policy of Lord Cornwallis granted 
him peace, on the easy terms of his relinquishing 
half his dominions to the confederates. Tipu accepted 
these conditions on the 24th of February, and orders 
were instantly issued to stop all working in the 
-trenches. The words which spread such a gloom 
over the army, by disappointing not so much their 
hopes of gain as of revenge, were these : Lord 
Cornwallis has great pleasure in announcing to the 
army that preliminaries of peace have been settled 
between the Confederate Powers and Tipii Sultan." 

* His Lordship probably at this time supposed that 
everything would soon be finally settled, and that he 
would be able in a few days to leave a sickly camp, 
where he was losing great numbers of Europeans ; but 
Tipii continued to work with more vigour than before 
the cessation, and used so many delays and evasions in 



54 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



ratifying the definitive treaty, that notwithstanding^ 
his having already sent his two eldest sons as hostages, 
and a million sterling, it was believed that hostilities 
would Ife renewed. His Lordship furnished him with, 
the means of protraction by adopting a revenue instead 
of a geographical division of his country. It was 
stipulated that the confederates were to take portions 
of his territories contiguous to their own, and by their 
own choice, which should amount to half his revenue. 
He was desired to send out an account of his revenues,, 
that the selection might be made. He replied that he 
had none — that they had all been lost at Bangalore and 
other places ; and on being told that in that case the 
allies would make the partition agreeable to statements 
in their own possession, he sent out accounts in whicL 
the frontier countries were overrated, and all those in the 
centre of his kingdom, which he knew he would retain, 
for himself, undervalued. The fabrication was obvious^ 
not only in this particular, but also in his diminishing 
the total amount of his revenue about thirty lacs of 
rupees. The confederates, however, after a few days, 
consented to submit to this double loss for the sake 
of peace ; but Tipii, after gaining one point, deter- 
mined to try his success on some others. The value 
of the whole had been fixed ; but on proceeding to fix 
that of the districts which were to be ceded, he threw 
so many obstacles in the way, that the allies found 
themselves at last compelled to adopt the measure 
with which they ought to have begun. A list was 
sent to him, which he was told contained half his^ 



IV A R WITH TIP& 



55 



dominions, and he was desired to put his seal to it. 
After a delay of two days, he replied that he would 
neither give up Krishnagiri, Chitaldriig, nor Gooty. 
His unwillingness to part with these places, which 
could only be useful to him in an offensive war, con- 
vinced his Lordship of his hostile designs, and made 
him resolve to insist on their being surrendered ; he 
ordered parties to make fascines, and the young princes 
to go next morning to Bangalore. The vakils of 
Tipii, seeing his sons marching off at daybreak, ran 
and called up Sir John Kennaway, and begged that 
they might be detained till they should inform the 
Sultan, and get another final answer from him. His 
Lordship, with his usual mildness, permitted them to 
halt after they had proceeded about two miles ; but still 
it was not till the i6th, three days afterwards, that the 
vakils signed the treaty ; and it did not come out till 
the 19th with the signature of Tipii. 

' So much good sense and military skill has been 
shown in the conduct of the war, that I have little 
doubt but that the peace has been made with equal 
judgment. It has given us an increase of revenue 
amounting to thirty-nine and a half lacs of rupees, 
which, though from Tipii's mismanagement of his 
finances it has not produced that for some years past, 
will soon be easily afforded by the country ; and by 
giving us possession of the Baramahal, it has rendered 
it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Tipii to 
invade the Karnatik in future from the westward, — 
for the passes from Mysore into the Baramahal, though 



56 



S/J^ THOMAS MUNRO 



good, are few; and though not defended by forti- 
fications, there are so many strong posts near them, 
that an invading army must either take them, which 
might require a whole campaign, or else leave them 
in the rear, and run the risk of being starved by the 
loss of its convoys. These are, no doubt, great 
advantages ; but because greater might have been with 
ease obtained, I cannot help thinking but that some- 
thing has been left undone. Why, instead of stumbling 
upon revenue accounts, could we not have traced our 
boundary on the map, taken such places as suited us 
from their political situation, sent him entirely above 
the Ghats, and not left him in possession of Kartir 
and Coimbatore, to plunder our southern provinces 
whenever he shall find it convenient to go to war % 
' It is true, that the possession of Palgatcherry will 
make it always easy for a Bombay army to take 
Coimbatore, and force him above the Ghats, with 
the assistance of a Karnatik army ; but to collect our 
troops is a work of some months, and in that time he 
may pass Trichinopoli, and ravage the Karnatik as far 
as Madras ; whilst, by driving off the cattle and 
inhabitants, he may render it difficult for us to equip 
an army for the field. If we are in a situation to 
march, he will probably lose Bangalore in the first 
campaign. But he will always be able to prevent an 
army without cavalry from besieging Seringapatam ; 
and while he can do this, he can force us, after an ex- 
pensive war, to relinquish our conquests for peace. We 
ought, therefore, to have kept Coimbatore, and estab- 



IV A R WITH TIPU 



57 



lished a strong post at Satyamangalam, which would 
have made an invasion on that side as impracticable 
as on that of the Baramahal. Tipii being then without 
magazines in the low countries, and seeing strong posts 
in the neighbourhood of all the passes, which could 
defy his unskilful attacks and intercept his convoys, 
would have had no temptation to begin a hopeless 
war ; but as the allies must also have had a pro- 
portional increase of territory, it is said that he would 
then have been reduced too low. He would have been 
more powerful than Haidar was when he usurped the 
government, and would have been as able as he to 
defend his possessions ; and if he was not, so much 
the better. For every person who has seen his army, 
and that of the other country powers, must be con- 
vinced how much is to be feared from the one, and 
how little from the other. 

' Lord Cornwallis was apprehensive that he should 
have been driven to the necessity of taking Seringa- 
patam ; and frequently exclaimed, " Good God ! what 
shall I do with this place ? " I would have said, " Keep 
it as the best barrier you can have to your own 
countries ; and be confident that, with it, and such 
a frontier as the Kaveri, skirted by vast ranges of 
rugged mountains, which make it impassable for an 
army from Arakere to Kaveripuram, no Indian 
power will ever venture to attack you." But every- 
thing now is done by moderation and conciliation ; — 
at this rate, we shall be all Quakers in twenty years 
more. I am still of the old doctrine, that the best 



58 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



method of making all princes keep the peace, not 
excepting even Tipii, is to make it dangerous for 
them to disturb your quiet. This can be done by 
a good army. We have one; but as we have not 
money to pay it, we ought to have taken advantage 
of our successes for this purpose, and after reducing 
Seringapatam, have retained it and all the countries 
to the southward and westward of the Kaveri. By 
doing this, we could have maintained a good body of 
cavalry ; and so far from being left with a weak and 
extended frontier, the usual attendant of conquests, we 
should, from the nature of the country, have acquired 
one more compact and more strong than we have at 
present. 

^ If peace is so desirable an object, it would be wiser 
to have retained the power of preserving it in our 
hands, than to have left it to the caprice of Tipii, 
who, though he has lost half his revenue, has by no 
means lost half his power. He requires no com- 
bination, like us, of an able military governor, peace 
in Europe, and allies in this country, to enable him 
to prosecute war successfully. He only wants to 
attack them singly when he will be more than a match 
for any of them ; and it will be strange if he does not 
find an opportunity when the confederates may not 
find it convenient to support the general cause. When 
we have a General of less ability than Lord Cornwallis 
at the head of the Government, (such men as we have 
lately seen commanding armies,) Tipii may safely 
try, by the means of Gooty, Chitaldriig, and Biddanore, 



M^AR WITH TIPU 



59 



to recover the conquests of the Marathas and the 
Nizam. If Lord Cornwallis himself could not have 
reduced Tipii without the assistance of the Ma- 
rathas, — for there is no doubt that without them he 
could never, after falling back from Seringapatam in 
May, have advanced again beyond Bangalore, — if his 
integrity, his sound manly judgment, and his great 
military talents could have done nothing, what is to 
be hoped for from those whom we may expect to 
supply his room? We cannot look for better than 

, or , or , men selected from the army 

as great military characters. But these gentlemen 
themselves are as well convinced as any private in 
the army, how cheap Tipu held them, and how 
little honour he could have gained by foiling them* 
One, or rather two, sallied forth; and after spouting 
some strange, unintelligible stuff, like ancient Pistol, 
and the ghosts of Romans, lost their magazines by 
forming them in front of the army, and then spent 
the remainder of the campaign in running about the 
country, after what was ludicrously called by the army 
the invisible power, asking which way the bull ran ! 

' The other, in May last, on a detachment of Tipu's 
marching towards him without ever seeing them, 
with an army superior to Sir Eyre Coote's at Porto 
Novo, shamefully ran away, leaving his camp and his 
hospital behind ; and in advancing in February, 
a second time, when Tipu had lost the greatest part 
of his army, he allowed a few straggling horse to cut 
off a great part of his camp equipage, and would have 



6o 



SIJ^ THOMAS MUNRO 



lost the whole had not Colonel Floyd been sent with 
a small detachment to bring him safely past the 
ferocious Tipii. The Colonel found him as much 
dismayed as if he had been surrounded by the whole 
Austrian army, and busy in placing an ambuscade to 
catch about six looties ^ He must have been a simple 
looty that he caught ! Lord Cornwallis said one day, 
on hearing that the looties had carried away nine 
elephants near Savandrug, " that they were the best 
troops in the world, for that they were always doing 
something to harass their enemies ; ' ' and I am confident 
that Tipu has not lost a looty in his army who is 
not a better soldier than any of these three Generals. 
Had his Lordship not arrived, Tipii would have been 
too much for them all, and their confederates at their 
back. These characters have led me out of my way, 
or I should have said a great deal more about the 
armies of the Native Powers, the old subject of Tipu as 
a barrier against the Marathas, and some oversights 
which his Lordship had nearly committed when he 
intended sending Medows with a part of the army to 
Assore to wait for him.' 



^ Xoo<2/, a plunderer ; see Yvile*s Hobson-Jobson, 



CHAPTER IV 

The BARiMAHAL— Muneo as Collector 

By the treaty of Seringapatam, Tipd ceded half his 
dominions to the East India Company and their 
allies — the Nizam and the Marathas. The portion 
that came to the Company was the District of Malabar 
on the west coast, Dindigal, now part of the District 
of Madura, and what was then known as the Bard- 
mahaly a part of the present District of Salem. 

For the civil administration of the latter of these 
Lord Cornwallis selected Captain Read, with the title 
of Superintendent of Revenue of the Baramahal ; and 
Lieutenant Munro and two other military officers 
were appointed as his assistants. The selection of 
military officers for this work was due partly to the 
deficiency of civil servants with a sufficient knowledge 
of the language, and partly to the unsatisfactory 
manner in which the revenue administration of the 
older possessions of the Company had been conducted. 
In the Northern Circars, for example, the land be- 
longed chiefly to zamindars, who paid a fixed sum to 
Government, farming out the land to renters, who 



62 



S/R THOMAS MUNRO 



collected the revenue from the rayats, and, as might be 
expected, pillaged them with unauthorized exactions. 
The renting system was also adopted for collecting the 
revenue in land not under zamindars, and in the Jagir \ 
with similar results to the rayats, or cultivators, and 
with considerable loss to the Government ; ' the mal- 
administration,' says Sir Alexander Arbuthnot, * was 
intensified by the intervention of a class of persons 
called " dubashes," some of them domestic servants of 
the European residents at Madras, who after the 
invasion of the Karnatik by Haidar in 1780, purchased 
rights in the land at absurdly low rates, and exercised 
a most mischievous influence in the district.* 

The BaramahaP, in which Munro spent the next 
seven years of his service, 1 792-1 799, consisted of the 
Taluks of Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Utankarai, and 
Tirupatiir ; these, with Hosur, which was acquired in 
1799, form the most beautiful part of the Salem 
District, itself perhaps the most picturesque in the 
Madras Presidency. The area of these Taluks varies 
from about 600 to 1,200 square miles, with a total of 
3,300 ; the chief town of each is named after it, or the 
Td,luk after the town, but they are all small places, only 
Tirupatiir having more than 10,000 inhabitants at the 
present day. The trunk roads, connecting Salem from 
one dii'ection and Madras from the east with Banga- 
lore, are well made, and in most places are for miles 
planted on both sides with banian trees, which form 

^ The present District of Chengalput. 

^ Bdrdmahcd means the twelve palaces, i. e. the ' tract ruled from 
the twelve palaces. 



THE BARAmAHAL—MVNRO AS COLLECTOR 63 



a continuous avenue, ^a pillared shade high over- 
arched ^/ affording shelter even in the hottest weather. 
'Between Rayakota and Krishnagiri,' writes Mr. Le 
Fanu/ is a winding ghat which is perhaps only second 
in point of beauty of all the natural beauties of the 
Salem District. Commencing about half a mile east of 
Rayakota, it winds through the verdure-clad hills 
which abound here ; sometimes descending over steep 
declivities, and again wandering through grassy glades 
at the bottom of valleys, which echo to the song of birds 
and abound with all the wealth of tropical growth, 
while over all the bare peaks^ with the durgam as 
their king, tower in rich shades of grey, brown and 
even crimson, due to the weathering of the mother 
rock. Shorter than the road is the track used by 
foot travellers and known as the Piivatti ghat, which 
penetrates the thick jungles where the banditti of the 
country love to lurk; here the footstep startles the 
hare from its form, and the jungle cock runs clatter- 
ing to his mates in the bamboo undergrowth, while 
herds of deer cross the path, and halt to gaze in mute 
surprise at the trespassers on their favourite haunts 

Not less enthusiastic is Munro's description of 
Tirupatur : ' There is nothing to be compared to it in 
England, nor, what you will think higher praise, in 
Scotland. It stands in the midst of an extensive 
fertile valley, from ten to forty miles wide and sixty 
or seventy long, surrounded by an amphitheatre of 
mountains of every shape, many of them twice as 

^ Par. Lost, ix. 1107. ^ ^^^^^^ Distrkt Manual, ii. 251. 



64 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



high as the Grampians^. The country here among 
the hills has none of the cold and stinted appearance 
which such countries have at home. The largest 
trees, the richest soil, and the most luxuriant vegetation, 
are usually found among naked masses of granite at 
the bottom of the hills/ Writing of a spot near 
Dharmapuri where he had made a garden, Munro 
says that whenever he happened to be at Dharma- 
puri he always spent at least an hour every day at 
it, ' and to quit it now goes as much to my heart as 
forsaking an old friend/ In all these places, in 
Krishnagiri, in Dharmapuri, at Rayakota, in the Topur 
Pass, at Omalur, at Sankaridrug, the bungalows in 
which Munro lived, the tanks and choultries he had 
built, and even some of the trees he planted, still 
remain, so that wherever an official now travels or 
halts there is something to remind him of Munro. 
But though nearly a century has passed away since 
Munro settled the Salem District, it is in the affections 
of the people, and as the rayats' friend, that he is best 
remembered. 

The administration of the Baramahal under both 
Haidar and Tipii had been oppressive in the extreme ; 
and the first thing that Read and Munro had to do 
was to settle the amount and the mode of the collection 
of the revenue, and this was done in such a way as 
to result in the permanent welfare of the people and 
benefit to the State. The system adopted was that 

^ The Shevaroy Hills, a well-known sanitarium five miles from 
Salem, are over 4,500 feet above the sea-level. 



THE bArAMAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 65 



which, with some modifications, was afterwards ex- 
tended over the Madras Presidency, and is known as 
the Rayatwari system. Under it the revenue is col- 
lected by the Government officers direct from the 
rayats ; an annual enquiry is made as to the extent of 
such holding, as the rayat has the option to give up, or 
diminish, or extend his holding from year to year ; 
but there is no annual settlement of the rate of assess- 
ment, as is sometimes erroneously supposed. The rayat 
under this system is virtually a proprietor with 
a simple and perfect title, and has all the benefits of 
a pei-petual lease without its responsibility. Every 
registered holder of land is recognized as its proprietor, 
and pays the revenue assessed upon his holding direct to 
Government ; he is at liberty to sublet his property or 
to transfer it by gift, sale, or mortgage ; and he cannot 
be ejected by Government so long as he pays the fixed 
assessment. In unfavourable seasons remissions are 
granted for entire or partial loss of produce ; the 
assessment is fixed in money and does not vary from 
year to year, except where water is drawn from 
a Government source of irrigation, nor is any addition 
made to the assessment for improvements effected at 
the rayat's own expense ; he receives assistance in 
bad seasons, and cannot be evicted as long as he pays 
his dues. 

In a long letter ^ to Capt. Allen, dated June 8, 
1794, Munro describes the revenue system adopted by 
him in the Baramahal, contrasting it with Haidar's 

^ Gleig's Life^ vol. i. pp. 174-180. 
E 



66 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



system of finance, and describing the nature of the 
country and its products, and giving his views as to the 
advisability of the abolition of road duties, taxes on 
ploughs, houses, trades, cotton, &c. He begins by saying, 
' You seem to think that I have a great stock of hidden 
knowledge of revenue and other matters, which I am 
unwilling to part with. I have more than once en- 
deavoured to convince you that we have no mysteries, 
that we have made no new discoveries, and that our only 
system is 'plain hard labour. Whatever success may 
have hitherto attended the management of these 
districts it is to be ascribed to this talent alone, and it 
must be unremittingly exerted, not so much to make 
collections as to prevent them, by detecting and 
punishing the authors of private assessments which 
are made in almost every village in India. We have 
only to guard the rayats from oppression and they 
will create the revenue for us.' 

In a letter to his father from the * Bank of the Kaveri, 
opposite Erode,' in January, 1795, Munro expostulates 
with him for endeavouring to obtain promotion for 
him through a Mr. P., apparently by showing the 
latter some of his letters. ' They might,' he writes, 
* raise the curiosity of Mr. P., but could give him no 
very favourable opinion of me,' and ' if he took any 
step in my favour, his doing so would be highly 
improper, for it is from the reports of Government 
and the Board of Kevenue, under whom I immediately 
act, and not from my own, that he ought to form his 
judgment of my fitness for being entrusted with 



THE bArAmAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 67 



a civil employment.' In this letter he makes the 
following remarks as to the necessity of collectors 
knowing the language of the country and being 
properly paid, and on the system of annual settle- 
ment, which had not yet been modified into the 
rayatwari system as described above. He says : 

^ Great additions might certainly be made to the 
Company's revenue on the coast. The first step should 
be to find proper men to manage it ; for, unless this 
is done, every attempt at improvement will be in vain. 
No man should get the charge of a district who does 
not understand the language of the natives ; for unless 
he had perseverance enough for this, he will never 
have enough for a collector ; and he would besides 
be kept under the dominion of his servants, and 
ignorant of everything that was passing around him. 
Government have at least been convinced of the 
necessity of such a regulation; and Sir Charles 
Oakeley ^, just before he departed, issued an order that 
after the ist of January, 1796, no person would be 
appointed a collector who did not understand some 
of the country languages. 

' To this knowledge and zeal in fulfilling the duties 
of their station, collectors should also unite a sound 
constitution, capable of bearing heat and fatigue ; for 
if they are not active in going about their districts, 
and seeing everything themselves, the petty officers 
under them, in combination with the head-farmers, 
will make away with the revenue on pretence of bad 

^ Governor of Madras, Aug. 1792 to Sept. 1794. 
E 2 



68 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



seasons. In this country, where there are so few 
Europeans, and where all business of taxation is 
transacted in a strange language, Government have 
scarcely any means of learning how the collector 
conducts himself, except from his own reports ; and 
to think of preventing his embezzlements by multi- 
plying official checks, would only be an idle waste 
of time and money. This evil, which can never be 
entirely removed, would best be remedied by selecting 
men of industry and talents, and placing them beyond 
the necessity of perverting the public money to their 
private use. 

*A collector ought to have at least a thousand pagodas 
a month ; he will probably have been eight or ten 
years in the country before he receives his appoint- 
ment ; and allowing that he remains ten more, and 
that he annually spends half his income, which he 
may do without being very extravagant, by having^ 
no fixed place of abode, and keeping an extra number 
of servants and horses for frequent travelling, he may,, 
at the end of twenty years, return home not much 
richer than he ought to be. The Revenue Board 
made some time ago an application for an increase 
of salary to collectors, which Government rejected, 
with great marks of displeasure ; but, in doing this, 
they showed little knowledge either of true policy or 
human nature ; for when men are placed in situations 
where they can never become independent by their 
avowed emoluments, but where they may also, by 
robbing the public without any danger of discovery, 



THE BARAmAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 69 



become so on a sudden, the number of those who would 
balance which side to take is so small, that it ought 
not to be brought into the account. 

* We see every day collectors, who always lived above 
their salary, amassing great fortunes in a very few 
years. The operation by which this is accomplished 
is very simple : — when rents are paid in money, by 
giving Government a rent-roll below the real one, and 
when in kind, by diminishing the produce of the land or 
of the sales. It is in vain to say that collectors, being 
men of education and character, will not descend to 
such practices ; the fact is against this conclusion. It is 
the same thing whether it is done by themselves or by 
those under them. It may be said, that their gains 
arise from the successful trade of their agents ; but 
when these very agents are invested with all their au- 
thority, and can, by pushing the payment of the rents, 
and other contrivances, get the whole produce of the 
lands into their hands at their own price, it is easy to 
see how dear such a trade costs both Government and 
the people. The immediate deduction, though consider- 
^ible, is not all the loss that revenue sustains, the 
obstruction of improvement ought also to be reckoned ; 
for men occupied in such schemes cannot have much 
leisure to attend to the extension of cultivation. . . . 

'The rents in some parts of the Karnatik are regulated 
by the grain sown, every kind paying a different rate, 
and in others they are levied in kind; and, in all, 
the leases are annual. Where the rents are fixed 
according to the grain, the lands are measured every 



70 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



year. The surveyors, in making their reports, are^ 
guided by the bribes they receive, and a thousand 
frauds are practised both on the farmers and the 
Government ; and where they are collected in kind, 
the produce of the land is either thrown upon the 
cultivator, at a price much above its value, or else 
a standard is fixed for the market, below which no 
person can sell until the whole of the public grain has 
been disposed of. Such wretched management, one 
would think, must soon ruin the country ; but the^ 
universal custom of early marriages is favourable to* 
population; and the inhabitants, under all their 
oppressions, seldom quit their native villages, because 
they are attached to them, and can go nowhere that 
they will not experience the same treatment. They 
soon forget their wrongs, for they must live ; and 
they again cultivate their fields the succeeding year, 
with the certainty of being plundered in the same 
manner as the last. This insecurity of property, 
though a great obstacle to the increase of revenue,, 
does not diminish it much ; for, as the greatest part 
of it is at present drawn from grain, the source of it 
cannot be lessened in any great degree without 
starving the inhabitants ; and they will not want 
subsistence as long as it can be provided so easily. 

* A man has only to furnish himself with a couple of 
bullocks, — a plough hardly costs a sixpence. If he 
turns up the soil three or four inches, and scatters his 
seed, he is sure of a sufficient return. Were we to 
abandon our present oppressive mode of taxation, the 



THE bArAmAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 71 



country, instead of rice and dry grain, would be 
covered with plantations of betel, cocoa-nut, sugar, 
indigo, and cotton ; and the people would take a great 
deal of our manufactures, for they are remarkably fond 
of many of them, particularly of scarlet ; but, unfor- 
tunately, few of them can afford to wear it. Many 
Brahmans use a square piece of it as a cloak, during 
the wet and cold weather ; but I don t remember ever 
seeing any of the farmers with it. When they can 
appear tine, and think there is no danger in doing so, 
there is no doubt but that great numbers of them will 
substitute it for the camly. a coarse thick woollen stuff, 
with which all of them are provided, which they carry 
in all seasons to defend themselves from the sun and 
rain, and on which they sit by day and sleep by night. 

' It is a mistaken notion that Indians are too simple 
in their manners to have any passion for foreign 
manufactures. In dress, and every kind of dissipation 
but drinking, they are at least our equals. They are 
hindered from taking our goods, not by want of 
inclination, but either by poverty, or the fear of being 
reputed rich, and having their rents raised. When 
we relinquish the barbarous system of annual settle- 
ments ; when we make over the lands, either in very 
long leases or in perpetuity, to the present occupants ; 
and when we have convinced them, by making no 
assessments above the fixed rent, for a series of years, 
that they are actually proprietors of the soil, we shall 
see a demand for European aiiiicles of which we have 
at present no conception. If we look only to the 



7^ 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



security of our own power in this country, it would 
perhaps be wiser to keep the lands, as they now are, 
in the possession of Government, giving them to the 
inhabitants in leases of from five to twenty years, 
than to make them over to them for ever, because 
there is reason to fear that such a property may 
beget a spirit of independence, which may one day 
prove dangerous to our authority ; but neither the 
present revenue^ nor any future increase of it, can be 
depended upon, while our military force is inadequate 
to the defence of our territories, and while the enemy 
can ravage them, and drive away the people, without 
our being able to hinder them. We require for this 
purpose at least 6,000 or 7,000 cavalry : an invasion 
would cost us more in six months than the additional 
expense of such a corps would amount to in ten years. 

' While our army is composed only of infantry, our 
power here will always be in the most critical situation 
in the time of war ; for one defeat may ruin us ; 
because against an enemy strong in horse, defeat and 
extirpation are the same. He may lose many battles 
without much injury to his affairs, because we cannot 
pursue ; but by one victory he annihilates our army. 
It was on this principle that Haidar fought us so often 
in 1781 ; and had he once defeated Sir Eyre Coote, 
he would soon have been master of every place in the 
Karnatik but Madras. Four or five thousand horse 
might just now lay waste the Karnatik, and Tipu, by 
following rapidly with the main body, might make it 
a very difficult and tedious business for us to collect 



THE BARAMAHAL--MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 73 



our scattered army to oppose him. He might, in the 
meantime, collect and drive off the inhabitants ; the 
communication with his own country would be secured 
by posting a detachment at Palakod, — for Krishnagiri, 
the only place of consequence in the neighbourhood, is 
above fifteen miles from the great road, and as the 
garrison is only one battalion, no party could be 
spared from it to interrupt the march of his convoys. 
But if we had 6,000 or 7,000 cavalry, such an invasion 
could not with safety be attempted : irregular horse 
would not venture alone into the Karnatik ; and if they 
waited till Tipii marched with his infantry, our 
army might be drawn together in time to oppose him 
at entering, or at least to overtake him before he could 
reascend the Ghdts. He might be forced to fight, 
and the loss of a battle, at so great a distance from 
home, and against an enemy now strong in cavalry, 
might be attended hy the total destruction of his 
armj^ There is no way of protecting the country but 
by such a body of horse ; it would be more effectual 
than a dozen of forts. The revenues of the Karnatik, 
under proper management, might, in a few years, 
yield the additional sum that would be required for 
this establishment. 

' It is of the greatest importance to have a well- 
anointed army, not only to carry us successfully 
through a war, but also to deter any of our neighbours 
from attacking us ; because, whether beaten or not, 
they still receive some new instruction in the military 
art. Though they are averse to innovations, yet the 



74 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



force of example will at last operate on them as well 
as on other people. Their improved mode of carrying- 
on war is a sufficient proof of this ; and if they con- 
tinue to make such advances as they have done under 
Haidar, Sindhia, and Tipu, they will, in thirty or 
forty years, be too powerful for any force that we can 
oppose to them. It is on this account very absurd 
policy to keep two battalions with the Nizam, to teach 
him, or his successor, to fight us. He has already formed 
above twenty corps on the same model. We have 
got a strange fancy, that, for the sake of the balance 
of power, it is necessary to support him against the 
Marathas ; but we have less to fear from them than 
from him and Tipii ; because the Moors are more 
ready than the Hindus in adopting the improvements 
of strangers, and are likewise, by the spirit of their 
religion, strongly impelled to extend their empire. 
I am convinced that, were the Marathas to overturn 
both the Muhammadan powers, we would be more 
secure than at present. They would see that nothing 
was to be gained by attacking us, and would therefore 
let us remain quiet, and either fight among them- 
selves, or turn their arms to the northward ; and 
when they had only Asiatics to contend with, they 
would by degrees lose the little of European dis- 
cipline which they have already learned. I believe 
I have all this time only been repeating what I have 
often said to you before.' 

In the short compass of this volume it would be 
almost impossible to give the reader an idea of 



THE bArAmAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 75 



the charm of style or of the interesting contents of 
Munro's letters to his family and friends. The details 
of his daily work, his tours from village to village, 
his description of the habits of the people, his con- 
versations with them, his references to the books 
he had been reading, to the topics of the day, the 
state of the country and of the army, and his views 
as to what should be done for the consolidation of the 
British possessions in India, are all most interesting 
reading, and show a vein of humour and a fund of 
imagination, coupled with sagacity and foresight, that 
prove the writer to have been a man of no ordinary 
intellect, but also far in advance of his time. Where 
all his correspondence is so entertaining the difficulty 
is to decide what to omit. The following are extracts 
from letters written between 1795 and 1798. 

' The place where I am now (Dharmapuri) is far 
from being so pleasant, because, besides being the 
station of a cutcherry, and a large noisy village, it 
is on the high road from Krishnagiri to Salem and 
Sankaridriig, by which means, though I have many 
visitors whom I am happy to see, I have sometimes 
others who are as tedious as any of your forenoon 
gossips. We have no inns in this country ; and as 
we have much less ceremony than you have at home, 
it is always expected that a traveller, whether he is 
known or not^ shall stop at any officers house he 
finds on the road When a tiresome fellow comes 
across me, it is not merely a forenoon's visit of which 
you complain so heavily, but I have him the whole 



76 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



day and night to myself. I do not, however, stand 
so much upon form as you do with your invaders. 
I put him into a hut called a room, with a few 
pamphlets or magazines, and a bundle of Glasgow 
newspapers, and leave him to go to business, whether 
I have any or not, till dinner-time, at four in the 
afternoon ; and if I find that his conversation is too 
oppressive for my constitution to bear, I give him 
a dish of tea, — for we have no suppers now in this 
country, — and leave him at seven to go to more 
business. There is nothing in the world so fatiguing 
as some of these Ute a tetes — they have frequently 
given me a headache in a hot afternoon ; and I would 
rather walk all the time in the sun, than sit listening 
to a dull fellow, who entertains you with uninteresting 
stories, or, what is worse, with uninteresting questions. 
I am perfectly of your way of thinking about visitors. 
I like to have them either all at once in a mass, 
or if they come in ones and twos to have them of my 
own choosing. When they volunteer, I always wish 
to see two or three of them together, for then you 
have some relief; but it is a serious business to be 
obliged to engage them singly. I wonder that we 
waste so much of our time in praying against battle 
and murder, which so seldom happen, instead of 
calling upon Heaven to deliver us from the calamity 
to which we are daily exposed, of troublesome 
visitors.' 

'If solitude is the mother of wisdom, it is to be 
hoped that, in a few years more, I shall be as wise 



THE bArAmAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 77 



as Solomon or Robinson Crusoe. There is another 
thing in favour of this idea, — the simplicity of my 
fare, which, according to some philosophers, is a great 
friend to genius and digestion. I do not know if the 
case is altered by this diet being the effect of necessity, 
and not of choice. When my cook brings me a sheep, 
it is generally so lean that it is no easy matter to 
cut it. Fowls are still worse, unless fed with par- 
ticular care, — a science for which I have no turn ; 
and as to river-fish, very few of them are eatable. 
If the fish and fowl were both boiled, it would puzzle 
any naturalist to tell the one from the other merely 
by the taste. Some sects of philosophers recommend 
nuts and apples, and other sorts of fruit ; but nothing 
is to be found either in the woods or gardens here, 
except a few limes, and a coarse kind of plantain, 
which is never eaten without the help of cookery. 
I have dined to-day on porridge made of half-ground 
flour instead of oatmeal ; and I shall most likely dine 
to-morrow on plantain fritters. Some other philoso- 
phers think that gentle exercise, as a branch of 
temperance, has also a share in illuminating the 
understanding. I am very fond of riding in an 
evening shower after a hot day ; but I do not rest 
much upon this ; my great dependence, for the ex- 
pansion of my genius, is upon the porridge.' 

' The cold, hfeless reasoning which is prematurely 
forced upon an unfortunate student at a college, 
is as diSerent from the vigorous conception which 
is caught from mingling with general society, as an 



78 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



animated body from its shadow. It is distressing 
that we should persevere in the absurd practice of 
stifling the young ideas of boys of fourteen or fifteen 
with logic. A few pages of history give more insight 
into the human mind, and in a more agreeable 
manner, than all the metaphysical volumes that ever 
were published. The men who have made the greatest 
figure in public life, and have been most celebrated 
for their knowledge of mankind, probably never con- 
sulted any of these sages from Aristotle downwards.' 

' We have for several years had a small detachment 
of two battalions with the Nizam. This is too 
trifling a force to give us any control over his 
measures ; but it serves as a model for him to dis- 
cipline his own army, and it compels us either to 
abandon him disgracefully in the hour of danger, 
as we did last year, or to follow him headlong into 
every war which he may rashly undertake. He is 
considered as more particularly our ally than either 
Tipii or the Marathas ; and it was, therefore, at 
the opening of his last unfortunate campaign, men- 
tioned with exultation by our Resident, that there 
were in his camp above twenty battalions clothed 
and armed like English sepoys. I would rather have 
been told that there was not a firelock in his army. 
These very troops would have driven the Marathas 
from the field, had they not been deserted by the 
great lords, with their bodies of horse and irregular 
foot, from cowardice, or more probably from treachery ; 
and to reduce some of these turbulent, seditious 



THE BARAMAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 79 



chiefs, is now the principal employment of our 
detachment. Thus we are wisely endeavouring to 
render him as absolute a sovereign, and of course, 
from his greater resources of men and money, a more 
formidable enemy than Tipu. 

* We ouofht to wish for the total subversion of both, 
even though we got no part of their dominions ; but 
as it is not absolutely necessary that we should 
remain idle spectators, we might secure a share for 
ourselves ; and were we in this overthrow of Tipii 
to get only his Malabar provinces, and Seringapatam 
and Bangalore, with the countries lying between 
them and our own boundaries, our power would be 
much more augmented by this part, than that of the 
Marathas by all the rest. What are called the 
natural barriers of rivers and mountains, seldom 
check an enterprising enemy. The best barriers are 
advanced posts, from which it is easy to attack him, 
and to penetrate into his country, and both Bangalore 
and Seringapatam are excellent situations for this 
pui-pose. The balance of power in this country ought 
also to be formed on much the same principles — by 
making ourselves so strong that none of our neighbours 
will venture to disturb us. When we have accom- 
plished this, their internal wars and revolutions ought 
to give us no concern. It is not impossible but that 
the Maratha chiefs may settle all their differences 
without coming to hostilities ; but if they should not, 
it is not easy to foresee what effect our preparations 
may have on Tipii.' 



8o 



S/R THOMAS MUNRO 



' The unity, regularity, and stability of our govern- 
ments in India, since they have been placed under 
Bengal, and our great military force, give us such 
a superiority over the ever-changing, tottering 
governments of the native princes, that we might, 
by watching times and opportunities, and making 
a prudent and vigorous use of our resources, extend 
our dominion without much danger or expense, and at 
no very distant period, over a great part of the 
Peninsula. Our first care ought to be directed to the 
total subversion of Tipu. After becoming masters of 
Seringapatam and Bangalore, we should find no great 
difiiculty afterwards in advancing to the Kistna, 
when favoured by wars or revolutions in the 
neighbouring states ; and such occasions would seldom 
be wanting, for there is not a government among 
them that has consistency enough to deserve the name.' 

* There are few of the obstacles here that present 
themselves to conquest in Europe. We have no 
ancient constitution or laws to overturn, for there is 
no law in India but the will of the sovereign ; and we 
have no people to subdue, nor national pride or 
animosity to contend with, for there are no distinct 
nations in India, like French and Spaniards, Germans 
and Italians. The people are but one people ; for, 
whoever be their rulers, they are still all Hindus ; it is 
indifferent to them whether they are under Europeans, 
Musalmans, or their own Eajas. They take no interest 
in political revolutions ; and they consider defeat 
and victory as no concern of their own, but merely as 



THE BARAMAHAL—MUNRO AS COLLECTOR 8 1 



the good or bad fortune of their masters ; and they 
only prefer one to another, in proportion as he 
respects their rehgious prejudices, or spares taxation. 
It is absurd to say that we must never extend our 
dominions, though we see a state falling to pieces, and 
every surrounding one seizing a portion of its terri- 
tory. We ought to have some preconcerted general 
scheme to follow on such occasions ; for, if we have 
not, it is probable that we shall either let most of them 
slip altogether, or by acting in too great a hurry, not 
derive so much advantage from them as we might 
otherwise have done.' 



F 



CHAPTER V 



The Thikd Mysore War 

Ever since the treaty of Seringapatam, Tipii had 
been concerting measures to overthrow the English 
power in India ; he had sent a mission to Constanti- 
nople, and another to Zeman Shah, the ruler of Afghani- 
stan, urging him to invade India ; he also announced 
himself as the champion of the Muhammadan faith, 
whose mission it was to expel the English * Kafirs/ as 
he called them, from the country, and with this object 
he was in treaty with both the Mara th as and the 
French. Thus Munro's forecast of the result of the 
policy of 1792 was verified. 

At this juncture Lord Mornington was on his way 
out to assume the Governor-Generalship, and writing 
from the Cape, Feb. 28, 1798, to Mr. Dundas, he says: 

*The balance of power in India no longer exists 
upon the same footing on which it was placed by the 
peace of Seringapatam. The question therefore must 
arise how it may be brought back again to that state 
in which you have directed me to maintain it. My 
present view of the subject is that the wisest course 
would be to strengthen the Marathas and the Nizam, 
by entering into a defensive alliance with the former 
against Zeman Shdh, and by affording to the latter an 



THE THIRD MYSORE WAR 83 



addition of military strength and the means of extri- 
cating himself from the control of the French party 
at Haidarabad.' 

Shortly after Lord Mornington's arrival at Calcutta 
not only were both these measures proceeded with, 
but having secured information of a proclamation 
by the French in Mauritius, calling on volunteers to 
take service under the ' Sultan of Mysore ' against the 
English, he at once ordered preparations for an army 
to take the field against Tipu. 

In February, 1799, a force of 20,000 men was 
collected at Vellore, and was supplemented by 13,000 
furnished by the Nizam, under Col. Arthur Wellesley, 
afterwards Duke of Wellington, the whole army being 
under the command of General, afterwards Lord, 
Harris. On May 4 the war was brought to a close 
by the capture of Seringapatam and the death of 
Tipu, who was killed in the assault. Munro, who had 
attained his captaincy in 1796, was attached to a corps 
for collecting supplies for the main army and for 
demolishing small forts near Bangalore. 

On the fall of Seringapatam Munro and Captain 
Malcolm^ were appointed secretaries to the Com- 
mission to arrange for the future disposal of Mysore 
and other territories, and for the settlement of questions 
arising out of the late war. In a letter to his father, 
dated August, 1799, ^^unro describes this third Mysore 
war, gives a long estimate of the character of Tipu, 
with details of his life, and thus concludes by giving 

^ Afterwards Sir John Malcolm, Governor of Bombay, 1827-1830. 
F 2 



84 



S/I^ THOMAS MUNRO 



his Qpinion of the treaty which resulted from the 
labours of the Commission : — 

' You will see in the papers how the partition treaty 
has been made. I believe that it has not met with 
general approbation here. Had I had anything to do 
in it, I certainly would have had no Kaja of Mysore, 
in the person of a child dragged forth from oblivion, 
to be placed on a throne on which his ancestors, for 
three generations, had not sat during more than 
half a century. I would have divided the country 
equally with the Nizam, and endeavoured to prevail on 
him to increase his subsidy, and take a greater body 
of our troops; but, whether he consented or not, I 
would still have thought myself bound by treaty to 
give him his fair half of the country. I would have 
given the Marathas a few districts, provided they 
consented to fulfil their last treaty with him ; but not 
otherwise. We have now made great strides in the 
south of India. Many think we have gone too far; 
but I am convinced that the course of events will 
still drive us on, and that we cannot stop till we get to 
the Kistna. I meant, when I began this letter, merely 
to have given you the history of my fever, in order to 
account for my apparent negligence in writing, and 
to let you know exactly how I was left. You might 
have had worse accounts of me from other quarters; 
but I have^ as usual, run into a long gossiping story 
of Tipu and his family. But he is now at rest ; and 
this is the last time I shall trouble you with him.' 

While secretary to the Commission, Munro formed 



THE THIRD MYSORE WAR 



85 



a friendship with Col. Wellesley \ which lasted through 
life. In some correspondence between them in the 
following year they argue for and against the exten- 
sion of British rule in India. Col. Wellesley was 
opposed to it, considering the extension already 
greater than our means, and that we had added to the 
number of our enemies by depriving of employment 
those who had found it in the service of Tipu and the 
Nizam, either in managing the revenue, serving in the 
armies, or plundering the country. 'As for the wishes 
of the people/ he adds, ' I put them out of the question ; 
they are the only philosophers about their governors 
that I ever met with — if indifference constitutes that 
character.' In reply to this Munro maintained that 
* every inch of territory gained adds to our ability 
both of invading and defending.' There are three 
things, he said, that greatly facilitate our conquests in 
this country ; jird, the whole of India being not one 
nation, but parcelled out among a number of chiefs, and 
these parcels continually changing masters, makes a 
transfer to us regarded not as a conquest but merely as 
one administration turning out another ; secondly, the 
want of hereditary nobility and country gentlemen, and 
of a respectable class of men who might be impelled by 
a sense of either honour or interest to oppose a revolu- 
tion ; and thirdly, our having a greater command than 
any of the native powers of money — a strong engine 
of revolution in all countries, but especially in India. 
Wellesley's next letter gives an account of his 

^ They had previously met at Topur in the Salem district. 



86 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



victory^ over Dhundia, or Dhundaji, a Maratha adven- 
turer, and he makes no further allusion to the discus- 
sion than to say, ' I fancy that you will have the pleasure 
of seeing some of your grand plans carried out/ 

Not the least interesting association with historic 
Seringapatam is the fact that there in the summer of 
1799 the future conqueror of Napoleon and the future 
Governor of Madras discussed the projects of the 
latter for the extension of British rule in India — 
' projects which Munro lived to see carried out far in 
excess of his early expectations, and which Wellesley 
only a few years later did much to further by his 
decisive victory over the Marathas at Assaye.' 

' It may be a question,' observes Sir Alexander 
Arbuthnot, ' whether, if Munro had lived in the days 
of Lord Dalhousie, he would have approved of the 
annexation policy of that ruler in all its details. It 
may be that he would have doubted the justice of 
suppressing native rule in Nagpur and the policy of 
annexing Oudh ; but there can be no manner of doubt 
that the proposal to restore Mysore to native rule, after 
it had enjoyed for nearly fifty years the benefit of 
British administration — a proposal which, having 
been repeatedly negatived by the highest authorities, 
was eventually sanctioned in 1867 — would have en- 
countered from him an opposition not less strenuous 
than that which was offered to it by Lord Canning and 
his successor in the Governor-Generalship/ 

^ September lo, 1800 — the first occasion on which the future 
duke held an independent command in the field. 



CHAPTER VI 

Kanaka and its Settlement 

Among the territories ceded by the partition treaty 
after the fall of Seringapatam was the District of 
Kanara, which stretches along the west coast, north 
of Malabar and west of Mysore. To the charge of this 
District Munro was appointed by the Governor- 
General, and here he remained from July, i799 till 
October, 1800. It was with much reluctance that 
Munro took up this appointment. *I have now 
turned my back upon the Baramahal and the Karnatik,' 
he says, ' with a deeper sensation of regret than I felt 
on leaving home ; for at that time the vain prospect 
of imaginary happiness in new and distant regions 
occupied all my thoughts, but I see nothing where 
I am now going to compensate for what I have lost — 
a country and friends that have been endeared to me 
by a residence of twenty years. I feel also a great 
reluctance to renew the labours which I have so long 
undergone in the Baramahal. It leaves few intervals 
for amusement or for the studies I am fond of, and 
wears out both the body and the mind. Col. Read 
has sent in his resignation^ and I had anticipated the 
pleasure of sitting down in the Baramahal, and 



88 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



enjoying a few years of rest after so many of drudgery, 
for that country is now surveyed and settled, and 
requires very little attention to keep it in order. It 
is a romantic country, and every tree and mountain 
has some charm which attaches me to them. . . . 

* I must now make new friends, for there is not a man 
in Kanara whom I ever saw in my life. Nothing would 
have induced me to go there, had I not been pointed 
out for the business of settling that country. I had at 
one time declined having anything to do with it; 
and only two considerations brought me, after 
wavering for some days, to accept of it; the one, 
a sense of public duty, and the other, the chance 
which I might have of being enabled to return a year 
or two sooner to Europe than I could have done by 
remaining in the Baramahal; but I can have no 
certainty of this, as my salary is not yet fixed.' 

Munro's dislike to Kanara and the life he had to 
lead there increased with his experience of it, and he 
applied to Mr. Cockburn, of the Board of Revenue, 
for a transfer to Mysore, the Baramahal, or the Kar- 
natik, saying he would be happy ^ to get away fropa 
it on any terms.' In reply to this letter Mr. Cock- 
burn wrote : ' I regret your situation should be so 
extremely irksome; the more so, as any attempt 
to procure your removal would be considered treason 
to the State. Such is the estimation of your services, 
that no one is deemed equal to the performance 
of the difficult task you are engaged in ; and though 
I can consider no reward adequate to the sacrifice 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 89 



you make, yet I trust you will be able to overcome 
your difficulties, and that Government will do you 
ample justice when you have brought the country 
into some degree of arrangement.' 

Whether encouraged by these words or not, Munro 
continued to work on, and at the end of a twelve- 
month wrote : * Everything was so new and all in such 
disorder on my first arrival that the whole of the last 
year has been a continual struggle against time to 
get forward and bring up arrears ; in this one year 
I have gone through more work than in almost all 
the seven I was in the Baramahal/ 

Throughout his residence in Kanara, Munro, who 
had attained the rank of Major in May, 1800, kept up 
a correspondence with Col. Wellesley, the latter com- 
municating to him accounts of his campaign in the 
Maratha country, and subsequently of that in the 
Deccan culminating in the battle of Assaye. 

These letters are printed in Gleig's Life^ and ai'e 
still most interesting reading. In Sir Alexander 
Arbuthnot's Memoir will be found an extract from 
a minute ^ by Munro on the defences of the Malabar 
coast, with reference to the contingency of a French 
invasion, Napoleon being then in Egypt. This minute 
was one of several memoranda which Major Munro 
was called on to prepare for the information of the 
Governor-General ; in it he observes — ' Supposing that 
any body of Europeans, from 5,000 to 10,000, were 
landed in Malabar, the only chance they would have of 

* Then first printed from the original MS. in the British Museum. 



90 



S/J^ THOMAS MUNRO 



maintaining possession of their ground would be by 
getting possession of some posts which might be capable 
of sustaining a long siege, and by being joined by the 
Nair Eajas and the other petty chiefs between Cochin 
and Sadashivgarh. We ought therefore to have no 
forts of great strength on the coast of Malabar. Those 
which we already have, are sufficiently strong to 
guard against a surprise, and to resist any enemy 
who has no cannon, which is all that is necessary. 
Were the French to get possession of them, they 
could easily be driven out again by an army from 
Mysore ; and as the Nairs, &c. would see that their 
footing was precarious, they would be afraid to join 
them. Were we, however, to make any place par- 
ticularly strong, one of those unforeseen events which 
frequently happen in war, might throw it into the 
power of the enemy. After they were in it, it would 
be difficult to dislodge them, and they might in con- 
sequence be able to stir up the neighbouring petty 
princes of the country to insurrection.' 

In Kanara Munro maintained his practice of keeping 
a journal for his sister ; which, in spite of his heavy 
official work, and the discomforts of the climate and 
of his mode of life, is written in the same buoyancy of 
spirit and humorous vein that characterizes his 
previous home-letters. From it, however, there is 
space for only the following extracts : — 

* I am now literally, what I never expected to be, so 
much engaged, that I have not leisure to write private 
letters. From daybreak till eleven or twelve at night, 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 91 



I am never alone, except at meals, and these altogether 
do not take up an hour. I am pressed on one hand 
by the settlements of the revenue^ and on the other by 
the investigation of murders, robberies, and all the 
evils which have arisen from a long course of profligate 
and tyrannical government. Living in a tent, there 
is no escaping for a few hours from the crowd ; there 
is no locking oneself up on pretence of more important 
business, as a man might do in a house, particularly if 
it was an upstair one. I have no refuge but in going 
to bed, and that is generally so late, that the sleep 
I have is scarcely sufficient to refresh me. I am still, 
however, of Sancho's opinion, that if a governor is only 
well fed, he may govern any island, however large. 

* I left Karwar yesterday morniog, where the Com- 
pany formerly had a factory, but abandoned it above 
fifty years ago, in consequence of some exactions of 
the Raja of Sonda, who then possessed this country. 
I crossed an arm of the river, or rather a creek, about 
half a mile broad, in a canoe, and proceeded on foot, 
for the road was too bad for riding, over a low range 
of hills, and then over some rice-fields, mostly waste, 
from the cultivators having been driven away by fre- 
quent wars, till I came again to the edge of the river. 
It was almost one thousand yards wide ; and as the 
tide was going out, it was extremely rapid ; and as 
there was a scarcity of canoes, as well as of inhabit- 
ants, I was obliged to wait patiently under a tree for 
two hours, till one was brought. I was, in the mean- 
time, beset with a crowd of husbandmen, as I always 



92 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



am on my journeys, crying out, " We have no corn, 
no cattle, no money ! How are we to pay our 
rents ? This is their constant cry, in whatever 
circumstances they may be ; for, as the oppressive 
governments of India are constantly endeavouring to 
extort as much as possible from them, their only 
defence is to plead poverty at all times, and it is but 
too often with just cause they do so. They think that, 
if they are silent, their rents will be raised ; and 
I shall therefore be pursued with their grievances for 
some months, till they find, from experience, that I do 
not look upon their being quiet as any reason for 
augmenting their rents. The party that attacked me, 
though natives of this part of the country, are 
Marathas ; they speak in as high a key as the inhabi- 
tants of the Ghats, which, as a deaf man, I admire, 
but not their dialect, which is as uncouth as the most 
provincial Yorkshire. Our conversation about hard 
times was interrupted by the arrival of a canoe, which 
enabled me to cross the river, and get away from them. 

' After a walk of about two miles farther, I got to 
my halting-place, at a small village called Ibalgarh. 
Though I had only come six miles altogether, I had 
been above six hours on the road. As my tent was 
not up, I got into a small hot hovel of a pagoda to 
breakfast. I forget how many dishes of tea I drank ; 
but I shall recollect this point to-morrow. When 
I was done, however, as my writing materials were not 
come up, as the place in which I was was very close and 
hot; and as I knew my tent and bullocks would not, 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 93 

on account of the rivers, be up before dark, I resolved 
to make an excursion, and look about me till sunset. 

* There is hardly a spot in Kanara where one can walk 
with any satisfaction, for the country is the most 
broken and rugged perhaps in the world. The few 
narrow plains that are in it are under water at one 
season of the year ; and during the dry weather, the 
numberless banks which divide them make it very 
disagreeable and fatiguing to walk over them. There 
is hardly such a thing as a piece of gently rising 
ground in the whole country. All the high grounds 
start up at once in the shape of so many inverted tea- 
cups ; and they are rocky, covered with wood, and 
difficult of ascent, and so crowded together, that 
they leave very little room for valleys between. 
I ascended one of them, and stood on a large stone at 
the summit, till dark. The view before me was the 
river winding through a valley from a mile to two 
miles wide, once highly cultivated, but now mostly 
waste ; the great range of mountains which separates 
Sonda from the low country, about twelve miles in 
front, many branches running from it like the teeth 
of a great saw^ to the beach, and many detached masses 
running in every direction, and almost all covered 
with wood. On returning home, I found my tent 
arrived, and it was as usual filled with a multitude of 
people, who did not leave me till near midnight. I con- 
tinued my journey at daybreak this morning, over 
cultivated fields for the first mile, and all the rest of 
the way, about ten miles more, through a tall and 



94 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



thick forest, up a valley towards the foot of the Ghdts. 
The prospect would have been grand from an eminence; 
but as it was, I saw nothing, except the heavens above 
me^ and a few yards on each side through the trees. 
I liked the road, because it was carrying me away 
for a time from a country I am tired of. My halting- 
place was on the edge of a small mountain stream. 
There was not a clear spot enough for my tent, 
though a small one ; but I was in no hurry about it, 
as there was plenty of shade under the bamboos and 
other trees to breakfast. 

* Kanara does not produce such a breakfast as you 
have every day in Scotland without trouble ; mine 
was very bad tea, for I had been disappointed in 
a supply from Bombay ; some bread, as heavy as any 
pebble of equal size in the stream beside me, made 
about a week ago by a native Christian of the Ange- 
divas, perhaps a descendant of Vasco da Gama, and as 
black as the fellow himself. It was however to me, 
who had seen no bread for three months, less insipid 
than rice, and with the addition of a little butter, of 
at least seven different colours, a very capital enter- 
tainment. You, who have fortunately never been in 
this country, may wonder why butter is so rare. It 
is because the cows are so small and so dry, that the 
milk of fifty of them will hardly make butter for one 
man. They are all black, and not much larger than 
sheep ; and as they give so little milk, no man makes 
butter for sale. Every farmer puts what milk his 
cows yield into a pot or a bottle, and by shaking it for 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 95 



half an hour he gets as much butter as you may lift 
with the point of a knife ; when, therefore, the serious 
task of raising a supply of butter for my breakfast 
comes under consideration, my servant, before he gets 
a sixpennyworth, is obliged to go round half a dozen 
of houses, and get a little at each. The whole together 
is not more than you eat every morning to your roll. 
When I had finished breakfast, and was sitting, as an 
Eastern poet would say, ' listening to the deep silence 
of the woods,' the little stream running past me put 
me in mind of Alander, and led me insensibly to 
Kelvin, and to the recollection of the companions with 
whom I had so often strayed along its banks, and 
thinking of you amongst the rest. I thought that 
none of them, now alive, would feel more interest 

than you in . 

' 20th Jan. [1800]. — I was interrupted yesterday by 
the arrival of my cutcherry people. I meant, I believe, 
to have said that, as no person would feel more interest 
than you in my sohtary journey through Sonda, 
I determined, as soon as my writing-table should 
arrive, to begin, at least, an account of it to you, 
whether I should ever finish it or not. The wood was 
so thick that it was not till after some search that 
a spot could be found to pitch my tent upon ; it was 
an open space of near a hundred yards square, which 
had in former times been cultivated, and had since 
been overgrown with high grass, which had a few 
hours before our arrival been set fire to by some 
travellers (who were breakfasting and washing them- 



96 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



selves in the river), because they thought it might 
afford cover to tigers. It was still burning ; but some 
of it, nearest the shade of the trees, being too wet with 
dew to catch fire, afforded a place for my tent. The 
people who accompanied me were so much alarmed 
about tigers, that as soon as it grew dark they kindled 
fires all round, and passed the night in shouting to 
one another. I never go to bed to lie awake, and was 
therefore in a few minutes deaf to their noise ; but 
either it or the cold awoke me about two hours before 
daybreak: having no cover but a thin quilt, I was 
obliged to put on my clothes before I went to bed 
again, as the only way to keep me warm. The ther- 
mometer was at 47°, which you would not think cold 
in Scotland ; but at this degree I have felt it sharper 
than I ever did in the hardest frost at home. It is 
probably owing to our being exposed to a heat above 
90° during the day, that we are so sensible in India to 
the chill in the morning. I continued my journey this 
morning on foot, for the road was so steep and narrow 
that it was in most places impossible to ride. 

'The forest was as thick as yesterday — nothing 
visible but the sky above. The trees were tall and 
straight, usually fifty or sixty feet to the branches ; no 
thorns, and scarcely any brushwood of any kind. No 
flowers spring from the ground in the forests of India ; 
the only flowers we meet with in them are large 
flowering shrubs, or the blossoms of trees. The ground 
is sometimes covered with long grass, but is more 
frequently bare and stony. Nothing grows under the 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 97 



shade of the bamboo, which is always a principal 
tree in the woods of this country. 

* After travelling about two miles I got to the foot of 
the Ghat, where 1 met some of my people, who had 
lost their way yesterday, and had nothing to eat. 
I am fond of climbing hills ; but I ascended the Ghat 
with much pleasure, because it was carrying me into 
a colder region, because I should be able to travel 
without being stopped, as in Kanara, every four or 
five miles by deep rivers, and because I should again^ 
at Haliyal, bless my eyes with the sight of an open 
country, which I have not seen since I left Seringa- 
patam. On getting near the top of the Ghat, the 
woods had been in many places felled, in order to 
cultivate the ground under them, and I by this means 
had an opportunity, from their open breaks, of seeing 
below rae the country through which I had been 
travelling for two days. It was a grand and savage 
scene — mountain behind mountain, both mountains 
and valleys black with wood, and not an open spot, 
either cultivated or uncultivated, to be seen. I was 
now entering a country which had been long famous 
for the best pepper in India — an article which had 
been the grand object of most of the early voyages to 
the coast of Malabar ; but there was not a single plant 
of it within many miles. On reaching the summit of 
the Ghatj and looking tow^ards the interior of the 
country, I saw no plains, and scarcely anything that 
could be called a valley ; but a heap of hills stripped 
of their ancient forests, and covered with trees, from 

G 



98 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



one to twenty years' growth, except a few intervals 
where some fields of grain had recently been cut. 

' Neither in Kanara nor Sonda does grain grow 
annually, except in such lands as can be floated with 
water. On all hills, therefore, and rising grounds, 
and even flats, where water is scarce, a crop of grain 
can only be obtained once in a great number of years 
— the time depends on the growth of the wood. When 
it is of a certain height it is cut down and set fire to ; 
the field is then ploughed and sown. If the soil is 
good it yields another crop the following year, and it 
must then be left waste from eight to twenty years, 
till the wood is again fit for cutting. All the land 
within my view had undergone this operation ; every 
field had a different shade, according to the age of the 
wood, and looked at first sight as if it was covered 
with grain of various kinds ; but I knew to my sorrow 
that nineteen parts in twenty were wood. My halting- 
place was much pleasanter than yesterday, it was an 
open plain of about half a mile in length, surrounded 
with wood, but neither so high nor so thick as to 
hinder me from seeing the hills beyond it. 

'My baggage being all behind in the pass, I sat 
down under a tree, and entered into conversation with 
half a dozen of the inhabitants, the owners of the 
fields where we were then sitting. They consisted of 
the accountant of a neighbouring village, and five 
farmers, two of whom were Marathas ; but the other 
three belonged to one of the castes of Indian husband- 
men who never eat any kind of animal food, nor taste 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 



99 



anything, not even water, in any house but their own : 
they wore beards as long as those of their goats^ and 
they looked almost as simple and innocent. They 
pointed to a few straw huts at the end of the field, 
and told me it was the spot where their village 
had formerly stood. It had been burned and plun- 
dered, they said, about four years before, by Yenji 
Naik, who had acted as a partisan in General 
Mathews's campaign, and had afterwards continued 
at the head of a band of freebooters till the fall of 
Tipu, when he relinquished the trade of a robber. 
They had forsaken their abodes during all that time^ 
and were now come to know on what terms they 
might cultivate their lands. I told them they should 
be moderate, on account of what they had suffered. 

* 2ist January. — I asked them some questions about 
the produce of their fields. One of the bearded sages 
replied that they yielded very little ; that it was some- 
times difficult to get a return from them equal to 
the seed they had sown. Had I asked the question of 
any other Indian farmer, five hundred miles distant, 
he would just have given me the same answer. It is 
not that they are addicted to lying, for they are 
simple, harmless, honest, and have as much truth in 
them as any men in the world ; but it is because an 
oppressive and inquisitorial Government, always pry- 
ing into their affairs in order to lay new burdens upon 
them, forces them to deny what they have, as the only 
means of saving their property. An excellent book 
might be written by a man of leisure, showing the 

a 2 



lOO 



SIR THOMAS MVI^RO 



wonderful influence that forms of government have in 
moulding the dispositions of mankind. This habit of 
concealment and evasive answers grows up with them 
from their infancy. I have often asked boys of eight 
or ten years old^ whom I have seen perched on a little 
scaffold in a field, throwing stones from a sling to 
frighten the birds, how many bushels they expected 
when the corn was cut. The answer was always — 
There is nothing in our house now to eat. The birds 
will eat all this, and we shall be starved." 

* The farmers are, however, as far as their knowledge 
goes, communicative enough where their own interest 
is not concerned. I therefore turned the discourse to 
the produce of a neighbouring district. One of the old 
gentlemen, observing that I had looked very attentively 
at his cumbly, was alarmed lest I should think he 
possessed numerous flocks of sheep ; and he therefore 
told me, with some eagerness, that there was not 
a single sheep in Sonda, and that his cumbly was 
the produce of the wool of Chitaldrtig. I was 
looking at his cumbly with very different thoughts 
from those of raising his rents. I had not seen one 
since I left Mysore : it is the only dress of the most 
numerous and most industrious classes of husbandmen. 
They throw it carelessly over their head or shoulders 
to defend them from the sun ; they cover themselves 
with it when it rains, and they wrap themselves up in 
it when they go to sleep. The rich man is only 
distinguished from the poor man by having his of 
a finer quality. It was in this simple dress that I had 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT lOI 



for many years been accustomed to see the farmers 
and goatherds in the Baramahal, and when I saw it 
again on the present occasion it was like meeting an 
old friend : it prepossessed me in favour of the owner ; 
it brought to my remembrance the country I had left, 
and it filled me with melancholy, while I considered 
that I might never see either it or any of my former 
friends again. Our conference was broken up by the 
appearance of my writing-table. I had placed it 
under a deep shade, on the side of a clear stream, 
little larger than a burn, where, after breakfasting, 
I wrote you yesterday's journal. Such streams seem 
to abound in this country, for I am now writing on 
the bank of such another, but under a canopy of 
trees, like which Milton never saw anything in 
Vallombrosa ; the aged banian shooting his fantastic 
roots across the rivulets^ and stretching his lofty 
branches on every side ; and the graceful bamboo 
rising between them, and waving in the wind. The 
fall of the leaf has begun for some time, and continues 
till the end of February. It was their falling on my 
head, and seeing the rivulet filled with them, that put 
me in mind of Vallombrosa. 

*It was so cold last night that I had very little 
sleep. I rose and put on all my clothes, and went 
to bed again ; but as I had no warm covering, it 
would not do, and I lay awake shivering most part 
of the night. At daybreak I found, to my astonish- 
ment, the thermometer at 34. I had never seen it 
in the Baramahal below 47. I continued my journey 



I02 



S/J^ THOMAS MUNRO 



as usual, a little before sunrise, through a forest 
with a few openings, except where the wood had 
been cut down for the kind of cultivation I men- 
tioned to you yesterday, or where there were a 
few rice-fields, but none of them half a mile in 
extent. Through the openings I had glimpses of 
the low hills on all sides of me, some of them 
covered with wood, some entirely naked, and 
some half covered with wood and half with grain. 
I met with several droves of bullocks and 
buffaloes, belonging to Dharwar, returning with salt 
from Goa. I saw a herd of bullocks feeding 
near the road, and I was glad to find they were 
the cattle of Sonda, for they resembled in size 
and colour those of Mysore. There is hardly a 
cow in Kanara that is not black ; but above the 
Ghats black is uncommon, four-fifths of them are 
white, and the rest of different colours. Men are 
fond of systems^ and before I came here I had con- 
vinced myself that the diminutive size and the dark 
colour of the cattle of Kanara were occasioned by 
scarcity of forage, and the deluge of rain which 
pours down upon them near six months in the year ; 
but the rains are as heavy and constant here as in 
Kanara — it cannot therefore be by them that they 
have been dyed black. I am not grazier enough to 
know what influence poor feeding may have on the 
colour of cattle ; but, if I recollect right, the small 
breed from the highlands of Scotland are called black 
cattle. 



KANARA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 103 

'There is no want of forage in Sonda, for, 
wherever the wood has been cleared away, the grass 
is four or five feet high. On coming to the place 
where I was to pitch my tent, I found that the 
head-farmer of the village, by way of accommodating 
me, had prepared an apartment of about twenty 
yards square and eight feet high, made of long grass 
and bamboos : it had been the work of a dozen of men 
for two days. He was much mortified that I would 
not go into it. I preferred the shade of trees during 
the day, and my tent at night. His son attended 
with a present of a fowl and a little milk. It is 
the custom in India, and was formerly in Europe, 
for men placed in the management of provinces to live 
upon the inhabitants during their journeys through 
the country ; the expense thus incurred, and fre- 
quently a great deal more, is commonly in this country 
deducted from the amount of the public rent. I told 
the farmer that, as I meant to make him pay his full 
rent, I could not take his fowl and milk without 
paying him for them ; and that I would not enter 
his pandal, because he had not paid the labourers 
who made it ; but that / should pay them, and order 
my cutcherry people into it. It cost me a good 
deal of time and trouble to persuade him that I was 
in earnest, and really intended that he should not 
feed any of the public servants who were follow- 
ing me. 

'22nd January.— I am now again seated at the 
side of a rivulet darkened with lofty trees. I have 



104 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



come about ten miles ; but as I understand that 
Supa is only four miles farther, I mean to go on 
again the moment I see my tent come up : for I am 
not sure that it is on the right road, and were it to 
miss me, I might be obliged to spend the night under 
a tree, which is not pleasant in such cold weather, when 
there is no military enterprise in view by which 
I might comfort myself with the reflection of its 
being one of the hardships of war. I passed the 
greatest part of the night in endeavouring to keep 
myself warm, but with very little success ; the cover- 
ing I had was too scanty, and all my most skilful 
manoeuvres to make it comfortable were therefore to 
no purpose. The thermometer at daybreak was at 
36. It was 78 yesterday in the shade at three o'clock, 
which is the hottest time of the day : it will, 
I suppose, be about the same degree to-day. Such 
heat would be thought scorching at home, but here 
it is rather pleasant than otherwise. I enjoy the sun 
when his beams find an opening among the branches 
and fall upon me, and were it not for the glare of 
the paper I would not wish them away. Nothing 
can be more delightful than this climate at this 
season of the year. The sun is as welcome as he 
ever is in your cold northern regions ; and though 
from 70 to 80 is the usual heat of the day, there is 
something so light, so cheerful, and refreshing in the 
breezes, which are continually playing, that it always 
feels cool. They are more healthy and sprightly 
than the gales which sported round Macbeth's castle, 



KANAKA AND ITS SETTLEMENT 1 05 



where the good King Duncan said 'the martins 
delighted to build/ My road to-day was an avenue 
of twenty or thirty yards broad through the forest. 
The trees were taller and thicker than I had yet seen 
them. The bending branches of the bamboo frequently 
met and formed a kind of Gothic arch. I passed many 
small rice-fields, and five or six rivulets. 

* The most extensive prospect I had the whole way 
was over a flat of rice-fields, about a quarter of a mile 
wide and a mile long, bounded at the farther end by 
a group of conical hills covered with wood, beyond 
which I could not see. It was in woods like these 
that the knights and ladies of romance loved to 
roam ; but the birds that inhabit them are not the 
musical choristers who, at the approach of Aurora, 
or when a beautiful damsel opened her dazzling eyes 
and shed a blaze of light over the world, were ever 
ready with their songs. They do certainly preserve 
the ancient custom here of hailing the appearance of 
Aurora ; but it is with chirping and chattering, and 
every sort of noise but music. I must however ex- 
cept some species of the dove and jungle-cock ; for 
though they cannot warble, the one has a plaintive 
and the other a wild note, that is extremely pleas- 
ing. The lark is the only musical bird I have 
met with in India. But notwithstanding the want 
of music and damsels, I love to rise before the 
sun and prick my steed through these woods and 
wilds under a serene sky, from which I am sure no 
shower will descend for many months. 



io6 



6-/7? THOMAS MUNRO 



' 31st January. — I have been for these eight days 
past at Supa, a miserable mud fort, garrisoned by 
a company of sepoj^s. The village belonging to it 
contains about a dozen of huts, situated at the junction 
of two deep sluggish rivers. The jungle is close to 
it on every side, and the bamboos and forest trees 
with which, since the creation, the surrounding hills are 
covered, seem scarcely to have been disturbed. Every 
evening after sunset a thick vapour rose from the 
river and hid every object from view till two hours 
after sunrise. I was very glad this morning to leave 
such a dismal place. I had for my companion, every 
day at dinner, the officer who commanded. He was one 
of those insipid souls whose society makes solitude more 
tiresome. I was, to my great surprise, attacked one 
morning by a party of four officers from Goa, headed 
by Sir William Clarke. He was going as far as 
Haliyal to see the country. I told him he ought to 
begin where he proposed ending, for that all on this 
side of it was such a jungle that he never would 
see a hundred yards before him, and that all beyond 
it was an open country. He had put himself under 
the direction of an engineer officer as his guide, and 
had fixed on a spot some miles farther on for their 
encampment, so that he could only stay about an 
hour with me. He gave me the first account of 
the Duke of York's landing in Holland; but the 
overland packet, he said, brought nothing from 
Egypt. 

'The country through which I came to-day was 



kAnara and its settlement 107 



a continuation of the same forest, through which 
I have now been riding about sixty miles. My ride 
to-day was about twelve miles ; not a single hut, 
and only one cultivated field in all that distance. 
After the first four miles I got rid of the hilly, 
uneven country in which I had so long been ; and 
the latter part of my journey was over a level 
country, still covered with wood, but the trees 
neither so tall, nor growing so close together, as 
those I had left behind. I could have walked, and 
even in many places rode, across the wood in different 
directions, which would have been impossible on any 
of the preceding days. I have halted under a large 
banian tree, in the middle of a circular open space 
about five or six hundred yards in diameter. One 
half of it is occupied by a natural tank covered with 
water-lilies. The rest is a field which was cultivated 
last year. It was just in such a forest as this that 
the characters in As You Like It used to ramble. 

' What an idle life I have led since I came to India ! 
In all that long course of years, which I look back 
to sometimes with joy, sometimes with grief, I have 
scarcely read five plays, and only one novel. I have 
dissipated my precious time in reading a little his- 
tory, and a great deal of newspapers, and politics, 
and Persian. I am not sure that I have looked into 
Shakespeare since I left home ; had I had a volume 
of him in my pocket, I might have read the MicU 
summer NigMs Dream while I was sitting two hours 
under the banian tree, waiting for my writing-table 



I08 SIR THOMAS MUNRO 

and breakfast ; but instead of this, I entered into 
high converse with a Maratha boy who was tending 
a few cows. He told me that they gave each about 
a quart of milk a day ; this is a great deal in India. 
Twenty cows would hardly give so much in Kanara. 
He told me also that the cows, and the field where 
we sat, belonged to a Siddee. I asked him what 
he meant by a Siddee. He said a Hubshee. This 
is the name by which the Abyssinians are distin- 
guished in India. He told me that his master lived 
in a village in the wood, near a mile distant, which 
consisted of about twenty houses, all inhabited by 
Hubshees. I was almost tempted to suspect that 
the boy was an evil sprite, and that the Hubshees 
were magicians, who had sent him out with a flock 
of cows, who might be necromancers for anything 
that I knew, to waylay me, or decoy me to their den. 
But I soon recollected that I had read of Africans being 
in considerable numbers in this part of India. They 
are, no doubt, the descendants of the African slaves 
formerly imported in great numbers by the kings of 
Bijapur and the other Muhammadan princes of the 
Deccan, to be employed in their armies, who were 
sometimes so powerful as to be able to usurp the 
government. 

^ 15th March. — This letter ought, by this time, to 
have been half way to Europe ; but I have had so 
much to do, and have had so many letters, public 
and private, on my hands for the last six weeks, 
that I never thought of you. I went in the even- 



kAnara and its settlement 109 



ing, after talking with the cowherd, to see his master. 
He was a young boy, whose father had been hanged for 
robbery some years before. I saw his mother and 
several of his relations, male and female, not of such 
a shining black, but all of them with as much of the 
negro features, and as ugly as their ancestors were in 
Africa two centuries ago. I am now about seventy- 
five miles south of their village ; but by traversing the 
country in different directions, I have come above 
twice that distance. I am encamped on the bank of 
a little river, called the Wurdee, and am within about 
two miles of the borders of Nuggur, usually called 
by us Biddanore. I have now seen the whole of the 
Sonda ; and it is nothing but an unvaried con- 
tinuation of the same forest, of which I have already 
said so much. Along the eastern frontier the country 
is plain, and appears from ancient revenue accounts 
to have been about two centuries ago well cultivated 
and inhabited ; but it is now a thick forest, full 
of ruinous forts and villages mostly deserted. The 
western part of Sonda, towards the Ghats, is an 
endless heap of woody hills without a single plain 
between them, that never have, nor probably ever 
will be cultivated, on account of their steepness. 
It is among them, in the deepest glens shaded by 
the highest hills and thickest woods, that the pepper 
gardens are formed. The plant is everywhere to 
be. met with in its wild state, but its produce is 
inconsiderable. It is from the cultivated plant that 
the markets of India and Europe are supplied. The 



no 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



cultivators are, with very few exceptions, a par- 
ticular caste of Brahmans, who pass the greatest part 
of their solitary lives in their gardens, scarcely ever 
more than two or three families together ; their 
gardens are but specks in the midst of the pathless 
wilds with which they are surrounded. They are 
dark even in the sunniest days, and gloomy beyond 
description when they are wrapped in the storm of 
the monsoon.' 



CHAPTER VII 

The Ceded Districts 

So successfully did Major Munro administer the 
affairs of Kanara that the Government was loth to 
transfer him elsewhere. By the end of the fifteen 
months which he served in that District he had reduced 
it to a state of good order ; the bands of freebooters 
were put down, the rayats, assured of justice in 
the collection of the taxes, and free from the fear of 
plunder, resumed their habits of industry, and good 
government was established throughout the province. 

At length the opportunity arrived when the Govern- 
ment was able both to gratify Munro's wish for a 
transfer from Kanara and to reward his services by 
a more important trust. By a treaty with the Nizam 
the British Government undertook to protect his 
territories from invasion, and entered into a general 
alliance with him, in return for which a force, com- 
posed partly of British and partly of native regiments 
of the Madras army, was to be (and has ever since 
been) maintained at Haidarabad, and is known as the 
Haidarabad Subsidiary Force. To meet the cost of 
these troops the Nizam on his part agreed to make over 
to the Company the territory he had acquired by the 



112 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



treaties of 179^^ and 1799, ^^^^ were ceded to 
British rule the Districts of Bellary, Cuddapah, &c., 
still known as the Ceded Districts. For the Collector- 
ship of these new Districts Muni'o applied, and to this 
he was appointed, and assumed charge of his duties in 
November, 1 800. Lord Clive, in making the appoint- 
ment, observed that the * wishes of so excellent a fellow 
and collector ought to be cheerfully complied with/ 
* Pray tell him,' he adds, * my desire of detaining him 
on the Malabar coast has arisen from my opinion and 
experience of his superior management and usefulness ; 
but that his arguments have convinced me that his 
labours in the Cis-Tumbudra and Kistna province 
will be more advantageous than his remaining in the 
steam of the Malabar coast, although I should have 
thought that favourable to a garden/ 

When Major Munro assumed charge of his new 
duties in the Ceded Districts, it is computed that there 
were scattered through them, exclusive of the Nizam's 
troops, 3O5OOO armed peons, under the command of 
some eighty poligars, or petty chiefs, who subsisted 
by rapine ; bands of robbers, too, wandered through 
the open country, plundering and putting to death 
travellers who refused to submit to their exactions. 
Such a state of things could not fail to inure the 
inhabitants to the use of arms ; almost every village 
had its fort or was surrounded by walls, the remains 
of which may be seen to this day. * The ten years 
of Mughal government in Cuddapah,' writes Munro in 
Feb. 1 801, ' have been almost as destructive as so many 



THE CEDED DISTRICTS 



113 



years of war, and this last year a mutinous unpaid 
army was turned loose during the sowing season to 
collect their pay from the villages. They drove off 
and sold the cattle, extorted money by torture from 
every man who fell in their hands, and plundered the 
houses and shops of those who fled ; by ^hich means 
the usual cultivation has been greatly diminished ^! 

The first step towards the settlement of the Ceded 
Districts was to subdue the poligars ; many of them 
were expelled or pensioned, and all required to disband 
their armed followers. This was mainly done by 
General Campbell, whose headquarters were at Bellary, 
while Munro, with four assistants (one of whom was 
Mr. William Thackeray, uncle of the novelist), attended 
to the civil administration of the country. 

Writing to Keadin Sept. 1802, he thus describes his 
work and life as an itinerant collector : ' I have all 
the drudgery, without any of the interesting investi- 
gations which employed so much of your time in the 
Baramahal. The detail of my own division, near ten 
lakhs of star pagodas, and the superintendence of others, 
leave me no leisure for speculations. The mere common 
business of Amildars' letters, complaints, &c., often oc- 
cupy the whole of the day ; besides, I am taken up an 
hour or two almost every otber day in examining spies, 
and sending out parties of peons in quest of thieves 

^ Mr. R. Sewoll, CoUector of Bellary, has recently printed a 
valuable memorandum of Munro's dated March, 1802, giving the 
history of eighty poligars in the Ceded Districts, and stating how 
he had dealt with each of them. 



114 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



and refugee poligars. I am also obliged to furnish 
grain for three regiments of cavalry, and the gun 
bullocks, and to transmit a diary every month to the 
Board, to show that I am not idle. My annual circuit 
is near a thousand miles, and the hours I spend on 
horseback are almost the only tim.e I can call my own/ 

It was Munro's custom to travel about without 
any military escort ; his reasons for doing so are 
given in a letter in which he had to explain the 
circumstances of an affray in which Mr. Thackeray 
nearly lost his life. In quoting this letter, Gleig 
observes that it is ' a document of great public import- 
ance even now, furnishing very satisfactory proof 
that a civil functionary in India is safer when travel- 
ling unattended, than if he be followed by a weak 
military escort.' The condition of India has so changed 
that the question has not to be considered as regards 
districts under British rule, now as quiet as any agricul- 
tural county in England ; but, with the Manipur disaster 
fresh in our minds, Munro's account of this incident, 
and his views as to a small guard attending an official 
in a turbulent country^ are well worth perusal. 

'Since writing to you yesterday, I have received 
yours of the 3rd [Dec. 1801], giving me the alarm about 
Thackeray. I heard of it the 27th of last months and 
instantly wrote to the General to send a party, and 
I have offered a reward of one thousand rupees for the 
patel of Tornikul, by whose orders the murders were 
committed. Such outrages are frequent in the Ceded 
Districts, particularly in Gurramkonda ; but I do not 



THE CEDED DISTRICTS I15 

write upon them, because it would only be troubling 
the Board to no purpose ; and you would have heard 
nothing* of the late affair, had Thackeray not happened 
to be upon the spot. Why did I suffer him, you say, 
to be without a guard ? Because I think he is much 
safer without one. I traversed Kanara in every direc- 
tion unaccompanied by a single sepoy or military peon, 
at a time when it was in a much more distracted state 
than the Ceded Districts have ever been, without 
meeting, or even apprehending, any insult. 

'I do the same here: — there is not a single man 
along with me, nor had I one last year when I met all 
the Gurramkonda poligars in congresS; attended by 
their followers. I had deprived them of all their 
cowle, and they knew that I meant to reduce them to 
the level of patels, yet they never showed me the 
smallest disrespect. The natives of India, not 
exceptiug poligars, have, in general, a good deal of 
reverence for public authority. They suppose that 
collectors act only by orders from a superior power ; 
and that, as they are not actuated by private motive, 
they ought not to become the objects of resentment. 
I therefore consider the subordinate collectors and 
myself as being perfectly safe without guards ; and 
that by being v/ithout them, we get much sooner 
acquainted with the people. A Naik's or a Havil- 
dar's guard might be a protection in the Karnatik ; 
but it would be none here in the midst of an armed 
nation. Nothing under a company could give 
security, and even its protection might not always be 
H 2 



SI7^ THOMAS MUNRO 



effectual, and would probably, in the present state 
of the country, tend rather to create than to prevent 
outrages. However this may be, such a guard for 
every collector cannot be spared from the military 
force now in the country. 

' The murders in Adoni seem to have originated in 
private revenge. I directed Thackeray to add a certain 
sum to the last year's jumma, but to let the people 
know that it would not be finally settled till my 
arrival in the district. Under the Nizam's government 
many heads of villages had gained considerably by 
the general desolation of the country, because they got 
credit for a great deal more than their actual loss by 
diminution of cultivation. It was necessary to raise 
the rent of these villages to a fair level with that of 
others in similar circumstances. The people who 
brought forward the information required for this 
purpose are those who have been murdered. They 
were all natives of Adoni, and one of them was 
a gumasta in the cutcherry. The village of Torni- 
kul, like most others in the country, is fortified. 
The patel refused to agree to the increase proposed. 
The serishtadar, knowing that there would be no 
difficulty in settling with the inhabitants, if he were 
removed for a few days, ordered him off to Adoni ; 
but, instead of obeying, he shut the gates, manned the 
walls, and murdered, in the cutcherry, the three men 
who had given in statements of the produce. These 
unfortunate people, when they saw the pikemen 
approaching to despatch them, clung for safety about 



THE CEDED DISTRICTS IT 7 

the serishtadar, which was the cause of his receiving 
some accidental wounds. Thackeray, who was en- 
camped near the village, hastened to the gate, and on 
being refused admittance attempted to get over the wall. 
The men above threatened, and called out to him to 
desist, saying that they had taken revenge of their 
enemies, but had no intention of opposing the Sirkar ; 
and he at length, very properly, withdrew to his tent. 
This is the account given me by a peon who attended him. 

' Now, had he had the guard, about which you are 
so anxious, it would most likely have occasioned the 
murder of himself and of all his cutcherry ; had it been 
in the inside, it would have been easily overpowered 
by one hundred and fifty peons ; and had it been at 
Thackeray's tent, it would have followed him to scale 
the wall, and brought on an affray, which would have 
ended in the destruction of them all. Nothing is more 
dangerous than a small guard in a turbulent country. 
The sepoys themselves are apt to be insolent, and to 
engage in disputes. Cutcherry people are, in general, 
too ready to employ them in overawing the inhabi- 
tants, and have very seldom sufficient sense to judge 
how far it is safe to go ; and a collector will never 
meet with any injury, unless he attempts to employ 
force, which he will hardly think of when he has no 
sepoys. I am therefore against making use of guards 
of regulars. Thackeray has always had above a hun- 
dred military peons in his division. I shall give him 
three hundred more ; and he can select an escort from 
them, who will be sufficient for his protection, if he 



Il8 S/J^ THOMAS MUNRO • 

does not try to scale forts. The conduct of the people 
of Tornikul, after the atrocious murders in the 
cutcherry, was certainly, with regard to him at least, 
extremel}^ moderate, and affords a strong proof that 
he is personally in no danger. On the ^2nd Novem- 
ber, two days after the affair at Tornikul, three 
potails and curnums were murdered by another patel 
of Adoni, for giving true statements to the Sirkar 
servants. By looking at the map, you will see that 
Thackeray's division, lying at nearly equal distances 
from Gooty and Bellary, is better covered by a military 
force than any other part of the Ceded Districts.' 

Munro's first settlement for revenue purposes was 
a village one ; each village was assessed at a certain 
valuation, and the cultivators were held responsible 
for that sum. His next settlement was a step towards 
a rayatwari one, but though it was made individually 
with the cultivators, the village headman was held 
responsible for defaulting or absconding rayats; but 
before the cultivation of 1 801-2 could commence, it 
was necessary to make advances for the purchase of 
seed, of implements^ of husbandry, of bullocks, for 
the repair of old or digging new wells, and even for 
the subsistence of the rayat till his grain was ready 
for cutting. In 1802 Munro commenced his new 
survey settlement, which lasted for five years. The 
whole of the cultivable area of the District was 
surveyed, a number given to each field, the name of 
the holder was registered, and the assessment fixed. 
*It is astonishing how Munro was able, with such 



THE CEDED DISTRICTS 



119 



rapidity^ to organize an establishment, and carry 
through a work which was not only new, but detri- 
mental to the interests of the village headmen, whose 
false accounts and concealments of cultivation were 
thus brought to light. ... It is, on the whole, wonder- 
fully correct, and though it never underwent the 
revision which Munro intended to apply to it, it is 
even to this day a safe guide in most village disputes ^! 

While so fully occupied with administrative work, 
and constantly on the move, Munro was called on by 
the Board of Revenue to give them a particular 
account in a diary of the way in which he spent his 
time. *I cannot see,' he writes, *what purpose it 
would answer here, except to hinder me from looking 
after more important matters.' The multiplication 
of reports, returns, and references of all sorts is in the 
present day the bane of Indian officialdom ; if such 
work is done by the head of the office it takes him 
away from 'more important matters,' and if, as is 
generally the case, it is left to a subordinate, it is 
calculated to cause needless friction by the work or 
diary of an official in a responsible post being reviewed 
by a clerk or even an under- secretary. Munro thus 
sums up his objections to unnecessary diaries and 
details : ' To explain to my assistants would take more 
time than to write it myself; and to write it myself 
is to leave part of my business undone, in order to 
write about the rest; for the day is scarcely long 
enough to get through what comes before me; and 

^ Ciiddcq)ah District Manual j by J, D. B. Gribble, pp. 1 17-122. 



120 



S/jR THOMAS MUNRO 



I am therefore obliged to relinquish a great deal of 
detail, into which I often wish to enter. My time 
has been spent so much in the same way during the 
last three years, that it is very easy to give an abstract 
of it. I have had no holidays since I left Seringapatam 
in 1799. ^ have had but two idle days; one that 
I rode over to see Sidout, and another that I went 
forty miles to see Cuppage at Nandidriig. I feel the 
effect that a long perseverance in such a course must 
always produce. I have had no bad health, but am 
perpetually jaded, and get through business much 
slower than I should do with more relaxation.' 

But Munro had not merely to deal with the poligars 
and the rayats, the Board of Eevenue and the Govern- 
ment of Madras, he had also to cope with the 
forces of nature, which periodically leave man and 
beast without a return for their labours in the field, 
or more relentlessly sw^eep them all away. In 1802-3 
the land suffered from drought and famine, and in the 
following years from excessive rains. In a report 
to the Board, Munro calculated that 1,000 tanks and 
800 channels had been breached in the Cuddapah 
District, and he estimated the cost of repairs at seven 
lakhs of rupees. Without waiting for the orders of 
Government, Munro ordered his subordinates to spend 
an almost unlimited amount, and the repairs were so 
speedily effected that, the following years being good 
seasons, he was able to report that * the settlement was 
nearly as high as it need be, and it is not likely that for 
some years it can receive any material augmentation. 



CHAPTER VIII 



Wellesley's Campaign in the Decoan and 

COERESPONDENCE WITH MuNllO 

The treaty of Bassein, concluded in 1802 with the 
Peshwa of Poona, took the other Maratha chiefs by 
surprise, and Sindhia and the Bhonsla of Berar joined 
forces and menaced the Nizam's dominions. Two 
British armies were sent against them, one under 
General Lake and the other under Wellesley ; the 
latter, after taking Ahmadnagar, routed Sindhia s forces 
in the battle of Assaye in September, 1803. DuriDg 
this campaign Munro supplied General Wellesley with 
basket-boats and boatmen, bullocks for transport, and 
rice for the troops, and w^as in constant communica- 
tion with him. In one of his letters, dated Anantapur, 
Aug. 28, 1803, Munro suggested plans for dealing with 
the Marathas, to which Wellesley replied, ' I have 
arranged the conquest of Ahmadnagar exactly as you 
have suggested,' and expressed his regret that he could 
not have him as a Collector of it. 

The letter from Wellesley that follows describes his 
tactics at the battle of Assaye ; it was written to Munro 
as ' a judge of a military operation, and as he was desirous 
. of having him on his side,' and was in answer to one 
from Munro, from which the following is an extract : — 



122 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



' I have seen several accounts of your late glorious 
victory over the combined armies of Sindhia and the 
Berar man, but none of them so full as to give me 
anything like a correct idea of it; I can, however, 
see dimly through the smoke of the Maratha guns 
(for yours, it is said, were silenced) that a gallanter 
action has not been fought for many years in any 
part of the world. When not only the disparity of 
numbers, but also of real military force, is considered, 
it is beyond all comparison a more brilliant and 
arduous exploit than that of Aboukir. The detaching 
of Stevenson was so dangerous a measure, that I am 
almost tempted to think that you did it with a view 
of sharing the glory with the smallest possible 
numbers. The object of his movement was probably 
to turn the enemy's flank, or to cut them off from 
the Ajanta Pass ; but these ends would have been 
attained with as much certainty and more security by 
keeping him with you. As a reserve, he would have 
supported your attack, secured it against any disaster, 
and when it succeeded, he would have been at hand to 
have followed the enemy vigorously ^. 

' A native army once routed, if followed by a good 

1 * The men of those days were stronger, bolder, more outspoken, 
not so mealy-mouthed as we are apt to be, not frightened at losing 
an appointment : or Bruce could not have bearded Duncan as he did 
on April 13, 1804, or Munro — he who to his credit had come out 
to India a man before the mast — would never have had the courage 
to write to Arthur Wellesley that he had sacrificed more of his men 
at Assaye than was at all necessary, and have his letter taken in 
good part/ — Douglas's Bombay. 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO 123 

body of cavalry, never offers any effectual opposition. 
Had Stevenson been with you, it is likely that you 
"would have destroyed the greatest part of the enemy's 
infantry ; as to their cavalry, when cavalry are de- 
termined to run, it is not easy to do them much harm, 
unless you are strong enough to disperse your own in 
pursuit of them. Whether the detaching of Steven- 
son was right or wrong, the noble manner in which 
the battle was conducted makes up everything. Its 
consequences will not be confined to the Deccan : they 
will facilitate our operations in Hindustan, by dis- 
couraging the enemy and animating the Bengal army 
to rival your achievements. I had written thus far 
when I received your letter of the ist of October, and 
along with it another account of your battle from 
Haidarabad. It has certainly, as you say, been a most 
furious battle " ; your loss is reported to be about two 
thousand killed and wounded. I hope you will not 
have occasion to purchase any more victories at so 
high a price.' 

'Camp at Cherikain, 
Nov. I, 1803.* 

*My Dear Munro, 

* As you are a judge of a military operation, and as 
I am desirous of having your opinion on my side, 
I am about to give you an account of the battle of 
Assay e, in answer to your letter of the 19th October: 
in which I think I shall solve all the doubts which 
must naturally occur to any man who looks at that 



124 



S/I^ THOMAS MUNRO 



transaction without a sufficient knowledge of the 
facts. Before you will receive this, you will most 
probably have seen my public letter to the Governor- 
General regarding the action^ a copy of which was 
sent to General Campbell. That letter will give you 
a general outline of the facts. Your principal objection 
to the action is^ that I detached Colonel Stevenson. 

' The fact is, I did not detach Colonel Stevenson. 
His was a separate corps, equally strong, if not 
stronger than mine. We were desirous to engage the 
enemy at the same time, and settled a plan accordingly 
for an attack on the morning of the 24th. We separ- 
ated on the 22nd: he to march by the western, I by 
the eastern road, round the hills between Budnapore 
and Jalna ; and I have to observe, that this separation 
was necessary — first, because both corps could not 
pass through the same defiles in one day ; secondly, 
because it was to be apprehended, that if we left open 
one of the roads through those hills, the enemy might 
have passed to the southward while we were going to 
the northward, and then the action would have been 
delayed, or probably avoided altogether. Col. Steven- 
son and I were never more than twelve miles distant 
from each other ; and when I moved forward to the 
action of the 23rd, we were not much more than eight 
miles. As usual, we depended for our intelligence of 
the enemy's position on the common harkaras of the 
country. Their horse were so numerous, that without 
an army their position could not be reconnoitred by 
an European officer ; and even the harkaras in our 



WELLES LEY AND MVNRO 



1^5 



own service, who were accustomed to examine and 
report on positions, cannot be employed here, as, 
being natives of the Karnatik, they are as well known 
as a European. 

' The harkaras reported the enemy to be at Boker- 
dun. Their right was at Bokerdun, which was the prin- 
cipal place in their position, and gave the name to the 
district in which they were encamped ; but their left, 
in which was their infantry, which I was to attack, was 
at Assaye, which was six or eight miles from Bokerdun. 

' I directed my march so as to be within twelve or 
fourteen miles of their army at Bokerdun, as I thought, 
on the 23rd. But when I arrived at the ground of 
encampment, I found that I was not more than five 
or six miles from it. I was then informed that the 
cavalry had marched, and the infantry were about to 
follow, but was still on the ground ; at all events it 
was necessary to ascertain these points ; and I could 
not venture to reconnoitre without my whole force. 
But I believed the report to be true, and I determined 
to attack the infantry if it remained still upon the 
ground. I apprised Colonel Stevenson of this deter- 
mination, and desired him to move forward. Upon 
marching on, I found not only their infantry^ but their 
cavalry, encamped in a most formidable position, 
which, by-the-by, it would have been impossible 
for me to attack, if, when the infantry changed their 
front, they had taken care to occupy the only passage 
there was across the Kaitna. 

' When I found their whole army, and contemplated 



125 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



their position, of course I considered whether I should 
attack immediately, or should delay till the following 
morning. I determined upon the immediate attack, 
because I saw clearly that if I attempted to return to 
my camp at Naulniah, I should have been followed 
thither by the whole of the enemy's cavalry, and 
I might have suffered some loss : instead of attacking, 
I might have been attacked there in the morning ; 
and, at all events, I should have found it very difficult 
to secure my baggage, as I did, in any place so near 
the enemy's camp, in which they should know it was : 
I therefore determined upon the attack immediately. 

'It was certainly a most desperate one; but our 
guns were not silenced. Our bullocks, and the people 
who were employed to drive them, were shot, and they 
could not all be drawn on ; but some were ; and all 
continued to fire as long as the fire could be of any use. 

' Desperate as the action was, our loss would not 
have exceeded one-half of its present amount, if it had 
not been for a mistake in the officer who led the 
picquets which were on the right of the first line. 

' When the enemy changed their position, they threw 
their left to Assaye, in which village they had some 
infantry; and it was surrounded by cannon. As soon 
as I saw that, I directed the officer commanding the 
picquets to keep out of shot from that village ; instead 
of that, he led directly upon it ; the 79th, which were 
on the right of the first line, followed the picquets, 
and the great loss we sustained was in these two 
bodies. Another evil which resulted from this mis- 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO 127 



take was the necessity of introducing the cavalry into 
the cannonade and the action long before it was time, 
by which that corps lost many men, and its unity 
and efficiency, which I intended to bring forward in 
a close pursuit at the heel of the day. But it was 
necessary to bring forward the cavalry to save the 
remains of the 79th and the picquets, which would 
otherwise have been entirely destroyed. Another evil 
resulting from it was, that we had then no reserve left, 
and a parcel of straggling horse cut up our wounded ; 
and straggling infantry, who had pretended to be 
dead, turned their guns upon our backs. 

^ After all, notwithstanding the attack upon Assaye 
by our right and the cavalry, no impression was made 
upon the corps collected there till I made a movement 
upon it with some troops taken from our left, after 
the enemy's right had been defeated; and it would 
have been as well to have left it alone entirely till 
that movement was made. However, I do not wish 
to cast any reflection upon the officer who led the 
picquets. I lament the consequences of his mistake ; 
but I must acknowledge that it was not possible for 
a man to lead a body into a hotter fire than he did 
the picquets on that day against Assaye. 

' After the action there was no pursuit, because our 
cavalry was not then in a state to pursue. It was near 
dark when the action was over ; and we passed the 
night on the field of battle. 

^ Colonel Stevenson marched with part of his corps 
as soon as he heard that I was about to move forward, 



128 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



and he also moved upon Bokerdun. He did not 
receive my letter till evening. He got entangled 
in a nullah in the night, and arrived at Bokerdun, 
about eight miles from me to the westward, at eight 
in the morning of the 24th. 

' The enemy passed the night of the 23rd at about 
twelve miles from the field of battle, twelve from the 
Ajanta Ghat, and eight from Bokerdun. As soon 
as they heard that Colonel Stevenson was advancing 
to the latter place^ they set off, and never stopped till 
they had got down the Ghat, where they arrived in 
the course of the night of the 24th. After his 
difficulties of the night of the 23rd, Colonel Stevenson 
was in no state to follow them, and did not do so till 
the 26th. The reason for which he was detained 
till that day was, that I might have the benefit of the 
assistance of his surgeons to dress my wounded 
soldiers, many of whom, after all, were not dressed for 
nearly a week, for want of the necessary number of 
medical men. I had also a long and difficult 
negotiation with the Nizam's Sirdars, to induce them 
to admit my wounded into any of the Nizam's forts ; 
and I could not allow them to depart until I had settled 
that point. Besides, I knew that the enemy had 
passed the Ghat, and that to pursue them a day sooner 
or a day later could make no difference. Since the 
battle, Stevenson has taken Barhampur and Asi'rgarh. 
I have defended the Nizam's territories. They first 
threatened them through the Caperbay Ghat, and 
I moved to the southward, to the neighbourhood of 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO 



129 



Aurangabad. I then saw clearly that they intended 
to attempt the siege of Asirgarh, and I moved up to 
the northward, and descended the Ajanta Ghat, 
and stopped Sindhia. Stevenson took Asirgarh on 
the 2 1st. I heard the intelligence on the 24th, and 
that the Raja of Berar had come to the south with 
an army. I ascended the Ghat on the 25th, and have 
marched a hundred and twenty miles since in eight 
days, by which I have saved all our convoys and the 
Nizam's territories. I have been near the Raja of Berar 
two days, in the course of which he has marched five 
times ; and I suspect that he is now off to his own 
country, finding that he can do nothing in this. If 
that is the case, I shall soon begin an offensive 
operation there. 

' But these exertions, I fear, cannot last ; and yet, if 
they are relaxed, such is the total absence of all govern- 
ment and means of defence in this country, that it 
must fall. It makes me sick to have anything to do 
with them ; and it is impossible to describe their state. 
Pray exert yourself for Bistnapa Pandit, and believe 
me ever yours most sincerely, Arthur Wellesley.' 

In reply to the foregoing, Munro wrote : — ' Dear 
General, I have received your letter of the ist instant, 
and have read with great pleasure and interest your 
clear and satisfactory account of the battle of Assaye. 
You say you wish to have my opinion on your side ; 
if it can be of any use to you, you have it on your 
side, not only in that battle, but in the conduct of the 
campaign. The merit of this last is exclusively your 

I 



130 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



own; the success of every battle must always be 
shared, in some degree, by the most skilful General 
with his troops. I must own I have always been averse 
to the practice of carrying on war with too many 
scattered armies, and also of fighting battles by the 
combined attacks of separate divisions. When several 
armies invade a country on separate sides, unless 
each of them is separately a match for the enemy's 
whole army, there is always a danger of their being 
defeated one after another ; because, having a shorter 
distance to march, he may draw his force together, 
and march upon a particular army before it can be 
supported. When a great army is encamped in 
separate divisions, it must, of course, be attacked in 
separate columns. But Indian armies are usually 
crowded together on a spot, and will, I imagine, be more 
easily routed by a single attack, than by two or three 
separate attacks by the same force. I see perfectly 
the necessity of your advancing by one route, and 
Colonel Stevenson by another, in order to get clear of 
the defiles in one da^y ; I know also that you could 
not have reconnoitred the enemy's position without 
carrying on your whole army ; but I have still some 
doubts whether the immediate attack was, under all 
circumstances, the best measure you could have 
adopted. 

* Your objections to delay are, that the enemy might 
have gone off* and frustrated your design of bringing 
them to battle, or that you might have lost the advan- 
tage of attack, by their attacking you in the morning. 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO I31 

The considerations which would have made me hesitate 
are, that you could hardly expect to defeat the enemy 
with less than half the loss you actually suffered; 
that after breaking their infantry, your cavalry, even 
w^hen entire, was not sufficiently strong to pursue any 
distance, without which you could not have done so 
much execution among them as to counterbalance your 
own loss ; and lastly, that there was a possibility of 
your being repulsed ; in which case, the great superi- 
ority of the enemy's cavalry, with some degree of spirit 
which they would have derived from success, might 
have rendered a retreat impracticable. Suppose that 
you had not advanced to the attack, but remained 
under arms, after reconnoitring at long-shot distance, 
I am convinced that the enemy would have decamped 
in the night, and as you could liave instantly followed 
them, they would have been obliged to leave all or 
most of their guns behind. If they ventured to keep 
their position, which seems to me incredible, the 
result would still have been equally favourable ; you 
might have attacked them in the course of the night ; 
their artillery would have been of little use in the 
dark ; it would have fallen into your hands, and their 
loss of men would very likely have been greater than 
yours. If they determined to attack you in the 
morning, as far as I can judge from the different reports 
that I have heard of the ground, I think it would 
have been the most desirable event that could have 
happened, for you would have had it in your power 
to attack them, either in the operation of passing the 

T 2 



1^2 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



river, or after the whole had passed, but before they 
were completely formed. They must, however, have 
known that Stevenson was approaching, and that he 
might possibly join you in the morning, and this cir- 
cumstance alone would, I have no doubt, have induced 
them to retreat in the night. Your mode of attack, 
though it might not have been the safest, was un- 
doubtedly the most decided and heroic ; it will have 
the effect of striking greater terror into the hostile 
armies than could have been done by any victory 
gained with the assistance of Colonel Stevenson's 
division, and of raising the national military character, 
already high in India, still higher. 

* I hear that negotiations are going on at a great rate ; 
Sindhia may possibly be sincere, but it is more likely 
that one view, at least, in opening them, is to en- 
courage his army, and to deter his tributaries from 
insurrection. After fighting so hard, you are entitled 
to dictate your own terms of peace. 

* You seem to be out of humour with the country in 
which you are, from its not being defensible. The 
difficulty of defence must, I imagine, proceed either 
from want of posts, or from the scarcity of all kind 
of supplies ; the latter is most likely the case, and it 
can only be remedied by your changing the scene of 
action. The Nizam ought to be able to defend his 
own country, and if you could contrive to make him 
exert himself a little, you would be at liberty to 
carry the war into the Berar Raja's country, which, 
from the long enjoyment of peace, ought to be able 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO 133 

to furnish provisions. He would probably make 
a separate peace, and you might then draw from 
his country supplies for carrying on the war with 
Sindhia/ 

By the treaty which followed this second Maratha 
war, concluded near the end of 1803, Sindhia ceded all 
claim to the territory north of the Jumna, and the 
Bhonsla forfeited Orissa to the English, and Berar to 
the Nizam. 

In a letter to Wellesley, dated Madanapalli, February 
20, 1804, Munro writes: read yesterday, for the 
first time, with great satisfaction, your treaty with 
Sindhia ; your successes made me sanguine, but it 
exceeds greatly my expectations, and contains 
everything that could be wished ; more territory can 
hardly be desirable until we have consolidated our 
power in what we possess. This cannot be effected 
w^ithout an augmentation of every description of 
troops. . . . The Indian armies in the different augmen- 
tations that have been made since the fall of Seringa- 
patam, have received no proportionable increase of 
Europeans, and the European force is in consequence 
much below the proportion which it ought always to 
hold to the native battalions. Though we have but 
little reason to apprehend any danger from our 
native troops, yet it is not impossible that circum- 
stances may induce them to listen to the instigations 
of enterprising leaders, and support them in mutiny 
and revolt. After seeing what has happened among 
our own soldiers and sailors in England, we cannot 



134 



6-/7? THOMAS MUNRO 



suppose that it is impossible to shake the fidelity of 
our sepoys. The best security against such an event 
would be an increase to our European force, which 
ought to be, I think, to our native in proportion of 
one to four, or at least one to five/ 

Munro's suspicions as to the fidelity of the sepoys 
were soon verified. In the fort of Vellore, about ei<^htv 
miles from Madras, the members of Tipu*s family 
had been placed after his death ; and here in July, 
18065 the sepoys rose upon their European officers, 
killed thirteen of them, and over eighty of the detach- 
ment of the 69th regiment ; but fortunately Colonel 
Gillespie arrived with a troop of dragoons from Arcot in 
time to rescue the survivors and prevent the mutiny 
from spreading. This outbreak was supposed to be 
a plot to restore the Musalman rule in India, but 
it is more probable that it was due to new regula- 
tions prohibiting the sepoj^s from wearing caste 
marks, which, with changes prescribed in their dress 
and the mode of wearing their beards, were believed 
by them to be made with the object of making them 
Christians. 

In Munro's correspondence there are the following 
letters relating to this affair. The first of these is 
from Lord William Bentinck, Governor of Madras, 
who was recalled in consequence of the mutiny ; 
the second is Munro's reply ; and the third, the best 
account we have of it, is a letter to his father dated 
September, 1806. 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO 135 

* [Private and conJidentiaL^ 

'Fort St. George, Aug, 1806. 

' My dear Sir, 
*We have every reason to believe, indeed un- 
doubtedly to know, that the emissaries and adherents 
of the sons of Tipu Sultan have been most active 
below the Ghats, and it is said that the same intrigues 
have been carrying on above the Ghats. Great 
reliance is said to have been placed upon the Gurram- 
konda Poligars by the princes. I recommend you to 
use the utmost vigilance and precaution ; and you are 
hereby authorized, upon any symptom or appearance 
of insurrection, to take such measures as you may 
deem necessary. Let me advise you not to place too 
much dependence on any of the native troops. It is 
impossible at this moment to say how far both native 
infantry and cavalry may stand by us in case of need. 
It has been ingeniously worked up into a question of 
religion. The minds of the soldiery have been in- 
flamed to the highest state of discontent and disaffec- 
tion, and upon this feeling has been built the re- 
establishment of the MusaJman government, under one 
of the sons of Tipti Sultan. It is hardly credible 
that such progress could have been made in so short 
a time, and without the knowledge of any of us. But, 
believe me, the conspiracy has extended beyond all 
belief, and has reached the most remote parts of our 
army ; and the intrigue has appeared to have been 
everywhere most successfully carried on. The capture 
of Vellore, and other decided measures in contempla- 



136 SIR THOMAS MUNRO 

tion, accompanied by extreme vigilance on all parts, 
will, I trust, still prevent a great explosion. 

* I remain, my dear Sir, your obedient servant, 

W. Bentinck/ 

Munro replied, from Anantapur, as follows : — 
have had the honour to receive your Lordship's 
letter of the 2nd [August]. On the first alarm of the 
conspiracy at Vellore, I despatched orders to watch 
the proceedings of the principal people of Gurram- 
konda, for I immediately suspected that the sons of 
Tipii Sultan were concerned, and I concluded that if 
they had extended their intrigues beyond Vellore, the 
most likely places for them to begin with were Chital- 
driig, Nandidriig, Gurramkonda, and Seringapatam. 

' Gurramkonda is perhaps the quarter in which they 
would find most adherents, not from anything that 
has recently happened, but from its cheapness having 
rendered it the residence of a great number of the dis- 
banded troops of their father, and from the ancestors 
of Cummer ul Din Khan having been hereditary 
Killadars of Gurramkonda under the Mughal Empire, 
before their connexion with Haidar All, and acquired 
a certain degree of influence in the district which is 
hardly yet done away. The family of Cummer ul 
Din is the only one of any consequence attached by 
the ties of relationship to that of Tipii Sultan ; and 
I do not think that it has sufficient weight to be at all 
dangerous without the limits of Gurramkonda. 

' The Poligars, I am convinced, never will run any 
risk for the sake of Tipii's family. Some of them 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO 137 



would be well pleased to join in disturbances of any 
kind, not with the view of supporting a new govern- 
ment, but of rendering themselves more independent. 
The most restless among them, the Ghuttim man, is 
fortunately in confinement ; and I imagine that the 
others have had little or no correspondence with the 
princes. Had it been carried to any length, I should 
most likely have heard of it from some of the Poligars 
themselves. 

' The restoration of the Sultdn never could alone 
have been the motive for such a conspiracy. Such 
an event could have been desirable to none of the 
Hindus who form the bulk of the native troops, and 
to only a part of the Musalmans. During the in- 
vasion of the Karnatik by Haidar, the native troops, 
though ten or twelve months in arrear, though ex- 
posed to privations of every kind, though tempted by 
offers of reward, and though they saw that many who 
had gone over to him were raised to distinguished 
situations, never mutinied or showed any signs even 
of discontent. Occasional mutinies have occurred 
since that period, but they were always partial, and 
had no other object than the removal of some particular 
grievance. The extensive range of the late conspiracy 
can only be accounted for by the General Orders 
having been converted into an attack upon religious 
ceremonies ; and though the regulations had un- 
doubtedly no such object, it must be confessed that 
the prohibition of the marks of caste was well calcu- 
lated to enable artful leaders to inflame the minds of 



138 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



the ignorant — for there is nothing so absurd but that 
they will believe it when made a question of religion. 
However strange it may appear to Europeans, I know 
that the general opinion of the most intelligent 
natives in this part of the country is, that it was 
intended to make the sepoys Christians. The rapid ■ 
progress of the conspiracy is not to be wondered at, 
for the circulation of the General Orders prepared the 
way by spreading discontent ; and the rest was easily 
done by the means of the tapal, and of sending 
confidential emissaries on leave of absence. The 
capture of Vellore, and, still more, the rescinding of 
the offensive parts of the regulations, will, I have no 
doubt, prevent any further commotion — for the causes 
being removed, the discontent which has been excited 
will soon subside and be forgotten. The native troops, 
sensible of their own guilt, will naturally for some 
time be full of suspicion and alarm ; but it is hardly 
credible that they will again commit any acts of 
violence.' 

Writing to his father, Munro says : — ^ A very 
serious mutiny took place in June among the sepoys 
at Vellore, in which sixteen officers and about 
a hundred Europeans of the 69th regiment lost 
their lives. The fort was, during some hours, in the 
possession of the insurgents, but was very gallantly 
recovered by Colonel Gillespie, who happened very 
fortunately to be in the command of the cavalry at 
Arcot, and hastened to Vellore on the first alarm with 
the 23rd light dragoons and 7th regiment native 



WELLES LEY AND MUNRO 139 

cavalry. Some of his own letters, of which I enclose 
a copy, will give you a full account of the affair. 

' A committee was appointed to investigate the 
causes of the insurrection. It has lately been dis- 
solved ; but I have not heard what report it has made. 
I have no doubt, however, that the discontent of the 
sepoys was originally occasioned by some ill-judged 
regulations about their dress ; and that it broke out 
into open violence in consequence of being encouraged 
by the intrigues of Tipu, son of Moiz ul Din, then a 
prisoner in the place. The offensive article of the Regu- 
lations, which occasioned so much mischief, and which 
has since been rescinded, ran in the following words : 

**'ioth. — It is ordered by the Regulations, that 
a native soldier shall not mark his face to denote his 
caste, or wear earrings when dressed in his uniform. 
And it is further directed, that at all parades, and upon 
all duties, every soldier of the battalion shall be clean 
shaved on the chin. It is directed also, that uniformity, 
as far as is practicable, be preserved in regard to the 
quantity and shape of the hair upon the upper lip." 

* This trifling regulation, and a turban, with some- 
thing in its shape or decorations to which the sepoys 
are extremely averse, were thought to be so essential 
to the stability of our power in this country, that it 
was resolved to introduce them^ at the hazard of 
throwing our native army into rebellion. One bat- 
talion had already at Vellore rejected the turban, and 
been marched to Madras, with handkerchiefs tied 
about their heads ; but the projectors were not dis- 



140 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



couraged. They pushed on their grand design until 
they were suddenly stopped short by the dreadful 
massacre of the loth of July. They were then filled 
with alarm: they imagined that there was nothing 
but disaffection and conspiracy in all quarters, and 
that there would be a general explosion throughout all 
our military stations. Tliere was fortunately, howx^ver, 
no ground for such apprehensions ; for almost every 
person but themselves was convinced that the sepoys, 
both from long habit and from interest, were attached 
to the service — that nothing but an attempt to force 
the disagreeable regulation upon them would tempt 
them to commit any outrage, and that whenever this 
design was abandoned, every danger of commotion 
would be at an end, and the sepoys would be as 
tractable and faithful as ever. Their discontent had 
nothing in it of treason or disaffection ; it was of the 
same kind as that which would have been excited in 
any nation by a violent attack upon its prejudices.' 



CHAPTEK IX 
MuNRo's First Visit to Europe 

In October, 1807, Lieut.-Col. Munro resigned his 
appointment as Principal Collector of the Ceded Dis- 
tricts, preparatory to going home on furlough. In 
reporting this to the Court of Directors, the Madras 
Government referred to his 'exertions in the advance- 
ment of the public service under circumstances 
of extreme difficulty, and with a degree of success 
unequalled in the records of this or probably of any 
other Government. . . . The general amelioration and 
improvement of the manners and habits of the Ceded 
Districts had kept pace with the increase of revenue ; 
from disunited hordes of lawless plunderers and free- 
booters they are now stated to be as far advanced in 
civilization, submission to the laws, and obedience to the 
magistrates, as any of the subjects under this Govern- 
ment. The revenues are collected with facility, every 
one seems satisfied with his situation, and the regret 
of the people is universal on the departure of the 
Principal Collector.' 

Col. Muni'o had for a couple of years previo^us to 
his departure been looking forward to a return home ; 



142 SIR THOMAS MUNRO 

his remittances to his father and mother had placed 
them in comfort; he had bought a country house, 
Leven Lodge, for them ; and he wished to see his 
parents again. But his long absence of twenty-seven 
years led him to anticipate few pleasures on his 
return to the old country, and what he was chiefly 
anxious about was what to do when he got home. 
' I have no rank in the army,' he writes, ' and could 
not be employed upon an expedition to the continent, 
or any other quarter, and as I am a stranger to the 
generous natives of your isle I should be excluded 
from every other line as well as military, and should 
have nothing to do but to lie down in a field like the 
farmer's boy and look at the lark sailing through the 
clouds.' In another letter, addressed to his sister, he 
thus refers pathetically to the changes that time and 
distance had wrought : — 

^ You are now, I believe, for the first time, 
a letter or two in my debt ; nothing from you has 
reached me of a later date than the i6th of May, 1804. 
This correspondence between India and Scotland, 
between persons who have not seen each other for 
near thirty years, and who may never meet again, is 
something like letters from the dead to the living. 
We are both so changed from what we were, that when 
I think of home, and take up one of your letters, 
I almost fancy myself listening to a being of another 
world. No moral or religious book, not even the 
Gospel itself, ever calls my attention so powerfully to 
the shortness of life, as does in some solitary hour the 



MUNRO'S FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 1 43 



recollection of my friends, and of the long course of 
days and years that have passed away since I saw 
them. These ideas occur oftener in proportion as my 
stay in this country is prolonged ; and as the period 
of my departure from it seems to approach, I look 
with pleasure to home ; but I shall leave India with 
regret, for I am not satisfied with the subordinate line 
in which I have moved^ and with my having been 
kept from holding any distinguished military command 
by the want of rank, I shall never, I fear, be able to 
sit down quietly to enjoy private life ; and I shall 
most likely return to this country in quest of what 
I may never obtain. 

* My resolution of going home has been strengthened 
by having this year discovered that my sight is not 
so good as it was. I find that when writing I must 
go to the door of my tent for the benefit of light when 
I wish to mend my pen. I endeavour to believe that 
this is entirely owing to my having lived so many 
years in tents under a burning sun. The sun has 
probably not shone in vain ; but I suspect that Time 
has also had a share in whitening my hair and dimming 
my sight. His hand appears now before my eyes 
only thin and shadowy, like that of one of Ossian's 
ghosts, but it will grow thick and dark in a few years, 
and I must therefore return to my native land, and 
see my friends before it is too late.' 

Colonel Munro arrived in England in April, 1 808, 
but one chief object of his return to his native land 
was not to be gratified ; his mother had died some 



144 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



months before he left India, and his father, who had 
all along followed with interest and pride the career 
of his distinguished son, had now become too infirm 
in mind and body to take an intelligent pleasure in 
his society. His own deafness, too, interfered much 
with his enjoying intercourse with his old acquaint- 
ances : *some of them,' he says, ' stare at me, and think, 
no doubt, that I am come home because I am deranged.' 
His chief delight was in visiting the old spots, taking 
long walks, and ^rambling up and down the river.' 
'I stood above an hour/ he writes, 'looking at the 
water rushing over, while the rain and withered 
leaves were descending thick about me, and while 
I recalled the days that are past. The wind whistling 
through the trees and the water tumbling over the 
dam had still the same sound as before ; but the 
darkness of the day, and the little smart box perched 
upon the opposite bank, destroyed much of the illusion, 
and made me feel that former times were gone. 
I don't know how it is, but when I look back on early 
years I always associate sunshine with them.' 

After spending some months in Edinburgh, where 
he again took up his favourite study of chemistry. 
Colonel Munro removed to London, and took an active 
interest in the politics and stirring events of the time. 
When the expedition to the Scheldt was fitted out, he 
accompanied Sir John Hope as a volunteer, and was 
present at the siege of Flushing. 

While in London Munro was much consulted by 
the Court of Directors of the East India Company 



MUNRO'S FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 145 



and the Government. The Charter by which the 
Company were invested with the government of 
India, renewed in 1793, *^ expire in 18 13, and 
the question of its continuance, especially as regards 
its trading privileges, was now being hotly discussed. 
Lord Grenville went so far as to oppose the continuance 
of the Company's territorial powers : he declared in 
a remarkable speech that ' twenty years was too long 
a period for farming out the commerce of half the 
globe and the government of sixty millions of people/ 
He held that the government of India ought to be 
vested in the Crown, that appointments to the civil 
service should be made by open competition and not 
by patronage, and that military cadetships should 
be conferred on sons of officers who had died in 
the discharge of their duties. Nearly fifty years, 
however, had to elapse before these reforms were 
carried out. 

The mercantile interests, however, were too strong 
for a renewal of the trade monopoly, the abolition 
of which was merely a matter of time owing to the 
rapid extension of manufactures and to the fact that 
the war on the continent had closed many ports to 
British trade. The merchants of Liverpool and 
Glasgow successfully opposed the proposal of Govern- 
ment to limit the extension of the trade to vessels 
sailing from and to London, and the result was that, 
while the monopoly with China was continued to the 
Company for another twenty years, the trade with 
India was thrown open to the nation, with the restric- 

K 



146 



SIJ^ THOMAS MUNRO 



tion that no private vessel employed in it should be of 
larger dimensions than four hundred tons. 

This whole question and other important matters 
connected with the internal administration of India — 
the system of land tenures, the judicial system, and the 
police — formed the subject of a searching enquiry 
before a Committee of the House of Commons. On 
all these subjects Colonel Munro gave evidence before 
the Committee, and, in the words of his biographer, 
* among all those whose opinions were sought on that 
memorable occasion Colonel Munro made the deepest 
impression upon the House, by the comprehensiveness 
of his views, by the promptitude and intelligibility 
of his answers, and by the judgment and sound 
discretion which characterized every sentiment to 
which he gave utterance.' 

In a long Minute on opening the trade of India to 
the outports of Great Britain, dated February 1,1813, 
Munro gives an account of the various products of 
India, the exports and imports, observing that the im- 
ports from India might be increased and the price 
diminished by shorter voyages, and that every measure 
by which the demand can be enlarged and the supply 
facilitated of those commodities which do not interfere 
with our own manufactures promotes the national 
prosperity. He suggested that the culture of cotton in 
India might be improved by introducing American 
and other foreign cottons, and more attention paid to 
its clearing ; raw silk, which had been imported from 
Bengal to the amount of about £600,000 per annum, 



MUNRO'S FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 14J 



might be increased to any extent, if protected by 
duties against the French and Italian ; so also sugar, 
by a reduction of the existing duties. On the whole, he 
was opposed to throwing the trade open to the ports 
of Great Britain, and considered that the experiment 
should be first tried with London only. The following 
are the closing paragraphs of this very interesting 
Minute : — 

* The Company are willing that the trade should be 
thrown open to the Port of London; but this, it is 
asserted, will not afford a wide enough range for the skill 
and enterprise of British merchants. But are these 
qualities monopolized by the outports ? Have not the 
London merchants their full share, and have they not 
capital sufficient to carry on all the Indian trade 
which the most visionary theorist can look for ? If 
freedom of trade is claimed on the ground of right, 
and not of expediency, every port in the kingdom 
ought to enjoy it; for they have all the same right 
abstractedly. But, unfortunately, it is necessary to 
withhold the benefit from them, because the ware- 
house system and customhouses are not yet sufficiently 
spread along our coasts ; or, in other words, because 
a great increase of smuggling would unavoidably ensue. 

'The East India Company are attacked from all 
quarters, as if they alone, in this kingdom, possessed 
exclusive privileges. But monopoly pervades all our 
institutions. All corporations are inimical to the 
natural rights of British subjects. The corn laws 
favour the landed interest, at the expense of the public. 

K 2 



148 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



The laws against the export of wool, and many others, 
are of the same nature ; and likewise those by which 
West India commodities are protected and enhanced 
in price. It would be better for the community that 
the West India planter should be permitted to export 
his produce direct to all countries, and that the duties 
on East India sugar, &c., should be lowered. 

' When the petitioners against the Company com- 
plain that half the globe is shut against their skill and 
enterprise, and that they are debarred from passing 
the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, and rushing 
into the seas beyond them with their vessels deeply 
laden with British merchandise, they seem not to 
know that they may do so now — that all private 
traders may sail to the western coast of America ; to 
the eastern coast of Africa, and to the Red Sea ; and 
that India, China, and the intervening tract only are 
shut. Some advantage would undoubtedly accrue to 
the outports by the opening of the trade. But the 
question is, would this advantage compensate to the 
nation for the injury which the numerous establish- 
ments in the metropolis connected with India would 
sustain, and the risk of loss on the Company's sales 
and of their trade by smuggling? 

'The loss of the China trade would subvert the 
system by which India is governed ; another equally 
good might possibly be found ; but no wise statesman 
would overthrow that which experience has shown to 
be well adapted to its object, in the vain hope of 
instantly discovering another. 



MUNRO'S FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 149 

' It yet remains doubtful whether or not the trade 
can be greatly increased ; and as it will not be denied 
that London has both capital and mercantile know- 
ledge in abundance, to make the trial on the greatest 
scale, the danger to be apprehended from all sudden 
innovations ought to induce us to proceed with caution, 
and rest satisfied for the present with opening the 
trade to the Port of London. Let the experiment be 
made ; and if it should hereafter appear that London 
is unable to embrace the increasing trade, the privilege 
may then, on better grounds, and with less danger, 
be extended to other places. 

'If Government cannot clearly establish that no 
material increase of smuggling, and no loss on the 
Company's sales, and consequent derangement of their 
affairs, would ensue from allowing the outports to 
import direct from India, they should consider that 
they are risking great certain benefits for a small 
contingent advantage.' 

In connexion with this subject a letter written by 
Munro when Governor of Madras to Mr. Finlay, a 
Glasgow friend, dated August 15, 1825, may be here 
quoted ; not only as giving his opinions as a free-trader 
far in advance of his time, but as bearing on what is 
' done against India ' in the interest of Lancashire. 

* I do not know that I have ever yet acknowledged 
the receipt of your letter about Dr. Anderson. I have 
never seen him, but I understand that he is a very 
good public servant ; which, being our townsman, I 
consider as a matter of course. I hope that you are 



150 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



a friend to free trade for public servants, as well as 
for other articles ; and that you do not think that 
men ought to have a monopoly of offices because 
they come from a particular town ; or that we should 
call them China, when we know that they come 
from the Delft-house. I find, however, that there is 
no shaking off early prejudice, and becoming quite 
impartial, as a friend to free trade ought to be; 
I find that, notwithstanding my long exposure 
to other climates, I am still Glasgow ware ; for, if 
I had not been so, I should not, when I saw your 
opinion quoted by Mr. Huskisson in support of his 
measures, have felt as much gratification as if I had 
had some share in the matter myself. 

'I remember, when I was in Somerville and 
Gordon's house, about the time of the appearance 
of The Wealth of Nations^ that the Glasgow mer- 
chants were as proud of the work as if they had 
written it themselves ; and that some of them said 
it was no wonder that Adam Smith had written such 
a book, as he had had the advantage of their 
society, in which the same doctrines were circulated 
with the punch every day. It is surprising to think 
that we should only just now be beginning to act 
upon them ; the delay is certainly not very credit- 
able to our policy. Our best apology is, perhaps, 
the American and the French revolutionary wars, 
during the long course of which the nation was so 
harassed that there was no time for changing the 
old system. The nation was just beginning to recover 



MUNRO'S FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 15 1 



from the American war, when the Revolution in 
France began; and had that event not taken place 
I have no doubt that Mr. Pitt would have done 
what we are now doing. I am not sure that you 
are not indebted to your old friend the East India 
Company for the measure not having been longer 
delayed. The attack upon their monopoly by the 
delegates in 18 12-13 excited discussions, not only 
upon their privileges, but upon all privileges and 
restrictions, and the true principles of trade, which 
probably prepared the minds of men for acceding 
to the new system sooner than they would other- 
wise have done. Even now there seems to be too 
much solicitude about protecting duties ; they may, 
for a limited time, be expedient, where capital can- 
not be easily withdrawn; but in all other cases why 
not abolish them at once ? There is another point 
on which anxiety is shown, where I think there 
ought to be none — I mean that of other nations 
granting similar remissions on our trade. Why 
should we trouble ourselves about this? We ought 
surely not to be restrained from doing ourselves 
good, by taking their goods as cheap as we can get 
them, merely because they won't follow our example 1 
If they will not make our goods cheaper, and take 
more of them, they will at least take what they did 
before; so that we suffer no loss on this, while we 
gain on the other side. I think it is better that we 
should have no engagements with foreign nations about 
reciprocal duties, and that it will be more convenient 



3 5^ S/I^ THOMAS MUNRO 

to leave them to their own discretion in fixing the 
rate, whether high or low. 

' India is the country that has been worst used in 
the new arrangement. All her products ought un- 
doubtedly to be imported freely into England upon 
paying the same duties, and no more, which English 
products pay in India. When I see what is done in 
Parliament against India^ I think that I am reading 
about Edward III and the Flemings. 

'I hope we shall talk over all this some day, in 
a ramble in the country, where the cows are still 
uncivilized enough to cock up their tails at strangers ^' 

^ During Munro's visit home he was describing a military move- 
ment to Mr. Finlay in a field near Glasgow, in which some cattle 
were grazing ; the animals, startled by his actions, rushed at them, 
and it was with difficulty they escaped over a wall. 



CHAPTER X 

President of the Judicial Commission 

The celebrated Fifth Report of the Committee of 
the House of Commons, published in 1813, drew 
public attention to the administration of justice and 
police in India. In both Bengal and Madras there 
were complaints of great delay in the disposal of 
civil suits and of the non-repression of crime. These 
defects were partly due to the fact that the judge of 
a District was also a magistrate, and, though a sta- 
tionary officer, was invested with the superintendence 
of the police ; and partly to the fact that the salaries of 
the native judges were too small to command either 
efficiency or integrity, and their number too limited 
to dispose of the litigation that naturally ensued on 
a settled government. Munro regarded the regulations 
passed by Lord CornwalHs in 1793 ^® great a 
departure from native institutions, and advocated the 
revival of the ' panchayat,' the transfer of the super- 
vision of the police from the judge to the collector, 
and the appointment of village officials to deal with 
petty suits. These, with other proposals of his, were 
approved by the Court of Directors, who appointed 



154 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



a Special Commission to inquire into and reform the 
judicial system in the two Presidencies. 

Of this Commission Colonel Munro was appointed 
President ; and after a residence of six years at home 
he sailed for Madras again in June, 1814. He was 
now accompanied by a wife, having married in March 
Miss Jane Campbell, daughter of Mr. Richard Campbell, 
of Craigie House, Ayrshire, whose portrait, as Lady 
Munro, now adorns the drawing-room of Government 
House, Madras. 

Munro landed at Madras on the i6th of September 
after a quick voyage of eighteen weeks ; and in his 
fii-st letter home he amusingly describes how his 
time was wasted in what he had never been accus- 
tomed to up-country — the system of calling and 
returning visits that still prevails in Madras. * The 
first operation,' he says, ' is for the stranger to visit 
all married people, whether he knows them or not ; 
bachelors usually call first on him — then his visits 
are returned; then his wife visits the ladies, and 
altogether there is such calling and gossiping, and 
driving all over the face of the country in an old 
hack-chaise, in the heat of the day, that I can hardly 
believe myself in the same place where I used to come 
and go quietly without a single formal visit. But all 
this is owing to a man's being married.' 

The then Governor of Madras, Mr. Hugh Elliot ^ 
who had assumed charge on the same day as Munro 

^ Sir Thomas Munro was his immediate successor as Governor of 
Madras. 



PRESIDENT OF JUDICIAL COMMISSION 155 



landed, seems to have been influenced by those around 
him to regard the changes proposed in the judicial 
despatch of the 29th of Aprils 18 14, as unnecessary, for, 
to the civilian jealousy of a military collector or com- 
missioner was added the fear that sweeping changes 
were intended by the Commission of which Munro 
was the head. Writing to Mr. Sulivan of the 
great delay the Commission was likely to encounter 
in the beginning, Munro says : ^Mr. Elliot received an 
impression very soon after his arrival, that everything 
was in the best possible state, that great improve- 
ments had been made since I left India, and that 
were I now to visit the districts, I would abandon 
all my former opinions, and acknowledge that the 
collector could not be entrusted with the magisterial 
and police duties without injury to the country.' 

Six weeks later, when Munro had been nearly six 
months in the country, he wrote to Mr. Cumming, 
head of the Revenue and Judicial Department 
of the Board of Control, complaining that he was 
not now, as when he was in the Ceded Districts, 
acting without interference, and authorized to pursue 
whatever measures he thought best for the settle- 
ment of the country, but obliged before he could 
take a single step to wait for the concurrence of 
men who had always been averse to the proposed 
changes ; and that the Government with its secretaries, 
the Sadr Adalat with its register, and every member 
of the Board of Revenue except one, were hostile to 
everything in the shape of the rayatwari system ; and 



156 



SIJ^ THOMAS MUNRO 



he advised that in their instructions the Board should 
not use such expressions as ' It is our wish/ or ' We 
propose;' that unless the words ' We direct,' 'We order/ 
are employed, the measures to which they relate will 
be regarded as optional. In a subsequent letter 
(March 14, 18 15) he writes : — 

* No orders have yet been issued for carrying into 
effect the instructions contained in the judicial 
despatch of the 29th of April, 1814; and the Com- 
mission consequently still remains at Madras. 

' Mr. Elliot tells me that the resolutions of Govern- 
ment on the subject are printing for circulation, and 
that they correspond nearly with my view of it, 
except in not transferring the office of magistrate to 
the collector; but this is the most essential part of 
the whole, for without it the collector will be merely 
the head darogah of police under the zillah judge, 
and the new system will be completely inefficient. 
No time should therefore be lost in sending out, by 
the first conveyance, a short letter, stating the heads 
of alterations in the present system which are im- 
perative, and not optional, with the Government here, 
and ordering them, not recommending, to be carried 
into immediate execution. . . . 

^ You will observe that in the two years 181 2 and 
1 8 13 there was not a single appeal decided. I have 
looked at some of the appeal cases, and am sorry to 
say that much of the litigation is occasioned by the 
judges being in general very ignorant of the customs 
of the natives, and of the internal management of 



PRESIDENT OF JUDICIAL COMMISSION 157 



villages. This arises from very few of them having 
been rayatwar collectors. I shall mention two cases 
which I read the other day. 

' The first originated in the Zillah Court of Trichi- 
nopoli in 1808. It was a suit instituted by some 
Brahmans to recover from the rayats of a village 1800 
rupees for their share of the crop, as Swami Bhogum, or 
proprietor's right. The rayats asserted that the con- 
tribution was not as proprietor s share, but voluntary 
to a pagoda. The curnum's accounts, which would 
probably have settled the matter, were refused by the 
judge in evidence, and the plaintiff cast. The Pro- 
vincial Court reversed the sentence, and gave them 
a decree, not only for the money which they claimed, 
but for the land, which they did not claim. The 
Sadr Court ordered the whole proceedings of both 
courts to be annulled, leaving the parties to pay their 
respective costs, and begin de novo if they please. 

* The second is a suit brought by a relation in the 
fifth or sixth degree of the Poligar of Woriorepoliam, 
to receive from the Poligar an allowance, in land or 
money, on account of his hereditary share of the poUam. 
He carries his cause in the Zillah and Provincial 
Court, and the sentence of the Sadr is not yet 

given ; but I see on the back of the paper, in 's 

handwriting, "I think the decree of the Provincial 
Court is right." Now I am positive that they are all 
completely wrong. 

' This cause, which has been going on for six years, 
would have been settled by a collector in half an 



158 



SIJ^ THOMAS MUNRO 



hour. Indeed the plaintiff would not have ventured 
to bring his case before a collector ; for among the 
military zamindars, such as Woriorepoliam, Kalastri, 
Venkatagiri, &c., the nearest relatives, and far less 
the more distant, have no claim to the inheritance. 
The poligar usually gives to his brothers, &c., an 
allowance for their support, according to his own 
pleasure, not to any right. The plaintiff, I have no 
doubt, has been instigated by some vakil to make 
the demand ; for, whatever happens, his fees are 
secure. The irregularity and negligence of some of 
the courts have been so glaring that the Sadr has 
been obliged to stimulate them by a circular letter. 
Stratton wished to have established a more effectual 
check, by making them send reports showing the 
date of the institution of each suit, and of every 
document filed ; but, though he could not carry this, 
and will often be obliged to satisfy himself with 
a protest, his exertions will make all the courts more 
active. 

* The Commission, too, though it has not yet begun 
to act, does yet some good by its presence ; for it is 
generally believed among the natives that it is 
authorized to inquire into all abuses, both in the 
judicial and revenue line ; and this opinion has some 
influence in checking them. I have had rdyats with 

* One of the judges of the Sadr Adalat, the then Chief Court of 
Appeal, selected by Colonel Munro to co-operate with him in the 
Commission. It was not without much demur that his wishes 
were acceded to. 



PRESIDENT OF JUDICIAL COMMISSION 159 



me from almost every part of the country with com- 
plaints ; but I have no direct authority to inquire 
into revenue abuses. I can only take them up 
where they are connected with the judicial system/ 

At last, on the 30th of April, 1816, Munro was able 
to report to the Board of Control that ' the Commis- 
sioners' proposed Kegulations may be considered as 
passed, as the Governor means to put their passing 
to the vote ; ' but he adds, ' they will be opposed in 
Council upon the necessity of waiting for all the heads 
of information required by the resolution of the ist 
March, 18 15, together with a report from the Com- 
mission of the potails and taliaries, fit or unfit, willing 
or unwilling, to execute the duties expected of them, 
and for the referring the regulations to Bengal for 
sanction previous to their being promulgated here. 
The information which was sought seemed to be 
required merely for the purpose of wasting time ; no 
man who knew anything of potails or taliaries ever 
thought of asking them whether or not they liked 
their duty/ 

The new Kegulations, as eventually passed, are 
a monument not only of Munro's force of character 
in accomplishing his object against the most powerful 
opposition, but of his high administrative ability and 
statesmanlike views. 

The most important of the changes effected by the 
new Regulations were the transfer of the superintend- 
ence of the police and the functions of magistrate of 
the district from the judge to the collector; the 



l6o SIR THOMAS MUNRO 

employment of hereditary village officials as police, 
and of the headmen of villages to hear petty suits ; 
the extension of the power of native judges, the simpli- 
fication of the rules of practice in the courts, and the 
legalizing a system of village and district panchayats, 
or courts of arbitration — to which Munro attached 
much importance as being adapted to native habits 
and usages. 

'Some of these measures have stood the test of 
the experience of half a century, and have been ex- 
tended in principle if not in form throughout India ^/ 
On two points, however, the reforms of 1816 have 
not answered the expectations of their authors. The 
panchayat system, being adapted to a primitive 
state of society, has not maintained its place by the 
side of the regular courts of justice, which speedily 
won the confidence of the natives ; and the union of 
police and revenue functions in the native stipen- 
diary officials, such as tahsildars, proved a mistake, 
resulting not only in a failure in the detection and 
repression of crime, but in a prolific source of op- 
pression. 

The * Police ' is now a separate force under European 
superintendents, and native or country-born inspectors ; 
it is a half-military body, and performs many of the 
duties for which sepoys were formerly employed, and 
at present in only eight of the twenty-two Districts 
of the Madras Presidency is there a detachment of 
European or native troops. 

^ Sir A. J. Arbuthnot's Memoir, p. cxU. 



CHAPTER XI 



The Pindari and Maratha Wars, i 817-1818 

The work of the Judicial Commission had con- 
cluded before the end of the three years for which 
it was appointed. Colonel Munro had long coveted 
a command in the army, and the opportunity seemed 
now to have come. The great Maratha chiefs 
had for some years lived as princes rather than as 
predatory leaders ; but in their place, and secretly 
supported by Sindhia and Holkar, large bands of 
freebooters, known as Pindaris, with their head- 
quarters in Malwa, made raids even into the provinces 
of Madras and Bombay. Preparations were being 
made by the Governor-General, the Marquess of 
Hastings, to repress these hordes, and Colonel Munro 
immediately offered his services. In January, 181 7, 
he wrote to Lord Hastings suggesting that prompt 
action should be taken, observing that against native 
armies in general defensive measures are always 
ineffectual, but more especially against Pindaris ; the 
great Maratha armies have to halt occasionally for 
their baggage and supplies, but the Pindaris enter 
the country merely for plunder and not conquest; 

L 



162 



SII^ THOMAS MUNRO 



' they can only be put down by seizing the districts in 
which they assemble, and either keeping them or 
placing them under a native government which can 
keep them under complete subjection/ He concluded 
by requesting that in the event of war he might 
be entrusted with the command of the subsidiary 
forces of Haidarabad and Nagpur and of such force 
as might be destined to act between the Godavari 
and the Narbada. * I am senior,' he wrote, * to 
any of the officers now employed in that quarter ; 
I have seen as much service as any officer in the 
Madras Army, having, with the exception of Lord 
Wellington's short campaign of 1803, been in every 
service with the army since June, 1780, when Haidar 
All invaded the Karnatik/ Other arrangements had 
apparently been already made for the military com- 
mands, but Munro was offered the Commissionership 
of the Southern Maratha country, the Peshwa having 
ceded by the treaty of Poona in June, 181 7, certain 
districts for the pay of the subsidiary force. 

After taking up this appointment at Dharwar, 
Munro wrote to the Governor-General stating that he 
could not but * regret deeply to feel for the first time 
the army in advance shut against him,' and that his 
Lordship's plans did not admit of his being employed 
with the forces in the Deccan, but he was sensible 
that those plans ought not to give way to the views 
of individuals. 

The remainder of this letter is a most important 
document, giving his views as to the evils which a 



FIND ART AND MARATHA WARS, 1 817-18 163 



subsidiary force entails upon the country in which it 
is established. ^ It has/ he writes, ' a natural tend- 
ency to render the government of every country in 
which it exists, weak and oppressive ; to extinguish 
all honourable spirit among the higher classes of 
society, and to degrade and impoverish the whole 
people. The usual remedy of a bad government in 
India is a quiet revolution in the palace, or a violent 
one by rebellion, or foreign conquest. But the 
presence of a British force cuts off every chance of 
remedy, by supporting the prince on the throne 
against every foreign and domestic enemy. It renders 
him indolent, by teaching him to trust to strangers 
for his security^ and cruel and avaricious, by showing 
him that he has nothing to fear from the hatred of 
his subjects.' 

Shortly after his assuming charge at Dharwar,Munro 
was dii'ected to reduce the Chief of Sandur^, which 
the Peshwa had required in accordance with the 
terms of the treaty with him. On Munro's arrival 
at Sandiir, in October, 1817, the chieftain Sheo Rao, 
who had repeatedly declared that sooner than submit 
to the Peshwa he would bury himself in the ruins 
of his fort, came out and met Munro's detachment 
and, delivering up the keys, implored his protection. 

^ A little State within the Bellary District, containing the sani- 
tarium of Ramandi-ug. A recent Agent with the Sandur Raja, the 
late Mr. John Macartney, brother of Sir Halliday Macartney, will 
be long remembered for his excellent administration of the state 
and his exertions in the famine of 1876-78. 

L 1 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



MunrOjin reporting this incident to Government, stated 
that the Sandiir chief * went through all the ceremony 
of surrendering his fort and abdicating the govern- 
ment of his little valley with a great deal of firmness 
and propriety, but next day, when he came to my 
tent with his brother and a number of his old servants 
and dependants to solicit some provision for them, he 
was so agitated and distressed that he was obliged to 
let his brother speak for him/ Munro made very 
liberal terms with him, and on his recommendation 
his little State was restored to Sheo Rao after the 
conclusion of the war and the deposition of the 
Peshwa. 

While Munro was engaged at Sandur the Peshwa s 
forces were pushing south ; but meantime a Briga- 
dier's commission, with command of the division 
formed to reduce the Southern Maratha country, was 
on its way to him. Though he had with him only 
five companies of sepoys, he determined to push 
forward and enter the enemy's country ; and having 
already acquired the goodwill and confidence of the 
people of the newly-acquired districts, he resolved (to 
use his own words) 'to find the enemy employment 
in the defence of his own possessions,' and appointed 
military amildars to most of the districts in the 
enemy's possession, with orders to raise peons and to 
seize as much of their respective districts as prac- 
ticable. While this was being done. General Munro 
took the important strongholds of Gadak, Damal, and 
Hubli^ garrisoning each with the peons whom he had 



pindAri and ma rath a wars, 1 817-18 165 



enlisted ; he also issued proclamations offering pro- 
tection to the cultivators, and announcing that the 
British Government would treat as enemies all who 
paid any tribute to the Peshwa or his agents. The 
people gladly obeyed these acceptable terms, not only 
refusing the demands of their own masters^ but 
acting everywhere in aid of Munro's irregulars ^. 

In a letter, addressed to Mr. Secretary Adam, dated 
February 17, 181 8, Sir John Malcolm thus writes of 
Munro and his modus operandi : — 

*I send you a copy of a public letter from Tom 
Munro Sdhib, written for the information of Sir 
Thomas Hislop. If this letter makes the same im- 
pression upon you that it did upon me, we shall all 
recede,*as this extraordinary man comes forward. We 
use common vulgar means, and go on zealously and 
actively, and courageously enough ; but how different 
is his part in the drama ! Insulated in an enemy's 
country, with no military means whatever, (five dis- 
posable companies of sepoys were nothing,) he forms 
the plan of subduing the country, expelling the army 
by which it is occupied, and collecting the revenues 
that are due to the enemy, through the means of the 
inhabitants themselves, aided and supported by 
a few iiTegular infantry, whom he invites from the 

* * As General Munro advanced from the Karn^tik he sent his 
irregulars to the right and left of liis column of march, who 
occupied the villages, fought with spirit on several occasions, 
stormed fortified places, and took possession in the name of 
''Thomas Munro Bahadur.'" Grant Duff's History of the Mardthdsj 
ii. 484. 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



neighbouring provinces for that purpose. His plan, 
which is at once simple and great, is successful in 
a degree that a mind like his could alone have 
anticipated. The country comes into his hands by 
the most legitimate of all modes, the zealous and 
spirited efforts of the natives to place themselves 
under his rule, and to enjoy the benefits of a Govern- 
ment which, when administered by a man like him, 
is one of the best in the world. Munro, they say, 
has been aided in this great work by his local repu- 
tation, — but that adds to his title to praise. His 
popularity in the quarter where he is placed is the 
result of long experience of his talents and virtues, 
and rests exactly upon that basis of which an able 
and good man may be proud. 

'I confess, after reading the enclosed, that I have 
a right to exult in the eagerness with which I pressed 
upon you the necessity of bringing forward this 
master-workman. You had only heard of him at 
a distance; I had seen him near. Lord Hastings, 
however, showed on this, as on every other occasion, 
that he had only one desire— how best to provide for 
every possible exigency of the public service.' 

Though the Madras Government was not able to 
spare the troops intended for Munro, he continued his 
aggressive campaign, taking Badami ^ and the much 
more important fortress of Belgaum, the only city still 
occupied by the Peshwa's troops, the capture of which 

On the Munro coat of arms there is a representation of an 
Indian hill-fort, with the word Badamy underneath. 



FIND ART AND MARAtHA WARS, 1817-18 167 



supplied him with ordnance and stores, both greatly 
needed. The capitulation of Belgaum, still the most 
important military station in that part of India^ took 
place in April, 1 81 8 ; and Munro, having thus completed 
the conquest of the Peshwa's dominions south of the 
Kistna, was able to make a junction with General 
Pritzler's force. He then advanced on Sholapur, 
where was concentrated a force of over 11,000 picked 
troops— cavalry, infantry, and artillery — in the service 
of the Peshwa. After reconnoitring the fort, Munro 
decided on attempting an escalade of the walls of the 
pettah; the attack was made on the morning of 
May 10. The attacking party gained the parapet at 
a rush and were soon masters of the pettah; but 
meantime the enemy's artillery had attacked the 
reserve. Munro, taking advantage of the confusion 
caused by the bursting of a tumbril, led a charge, 
which the Peshwa's followers were unable to resist ; 
they abandoned their guns and took shelter within their 
lines. The Maratha chiefs now endeavoured to secure 
a retreat, and in the afternoon the whole army was 
in rapid march westward. Munro ordered the cavalry 
in pursuit, who completely routed the fugitive army, 
and within three days the garrison of the fort capitu- 
lated. The news of the capture of Sholapur and of 
the victory that preceded it showed the Peshwa that 
further resistance was useless, and contributed largely 
to bring about the negotiations which led to his 
surrender to Sir John Malcolm. 

With the reduction of Sholapur the subjugation of 



i68 



S/I^ THOMAS MUNRO 



the Southern Maratha country was complete, and 
General Munro, whose health was now much broken, 
sent in his resignation, and started in August, viA 
Bangalore, for Madras, in order to proceed home. 

This chapter in Munro 's history should not close 
without some extracts from the many interesting 
letters he wrote at this time. The following is 
from a letter to his wife, dated Damal, November 19, 
1817:— 

* There is nothing I enjoy so much as the sight and 
the sound of water gushing and murmuring among 
rocks and stones. I fancy I could look on the stream 
for ever — it never tires me. I never see a brawling 
rivulet in any part of the world, without thinking of 
the one I first saw in my earliest years, and wishing 
myself beside it again. There seems to be a kind of 
sympathy among them all. They have all the same 
sound, and in India and Scotland they resemble each 
other more than any other part of the landscape. . . . 

' I have contrived to read the whole four volumes 
you sent me of the Tales of my Landlord. The Black 
Dwarf is an absurd thing with little interest, and 
some very disgusting characters. I like Old Mor- 
tality much ; but certainly not so well as Guy 
Mannering. Cuddie has got a little of Sambo about 
him. His testifying mother is just such an auld wife 
as I have often seen in the West. Colonel Graham is 
drawn with great spirit ; and I feel the more interested 
in him from knowing that he is the celebrated Lord 
Dundee. I admire Edith, but I should like her better 



FIND ART AND MA RATH A WARS, 1817-18 169 

if she were not so wonderfully wise — she talks too 
much like an Edinburgh Reviewer/ 

Writing to Sir John Malcolm after his defeat of 
Holkar's army at Mehidpur, he says: *Your battle 
while it lasted seems to have been as severe as that of 
Assaye ; but I do not understand why you did not 
instantly follow up the victory, instead of halting four 
days to sing Te Deum," and to write to your grand- 
mothers and aunts how good and gracious Providence 
had been.' 

From his camp near Belgaum he wrote to his sister 
(March 28, 1 8 1 8) : 'I cannot now write by candle-light ; 
and it was after dark that all my private letters used 
to be written. But the great obstacle to my corre- 
sponding with you and my brother is the endless 
public-business writing, which comes upon me whether 
I will or not. Fortune, during the greatest part of 
my Indian life, has made a drudge of me ; every labour 
which demands patience and temper, and to which no 
fame is attached^ seems to have fallen to my share, 
both in civil and military affairs. I have plodded for 
years among details of which I am sick, merely 
because I knew it was necessary, and I now feel the 
effects of it in impaired sight, and a kind of lassitude 
at times as if I had been long without sleep.' 

The following passages are from a letter to Sir John 
Malcolm, dated June 10, 181 8 : — 

' You were present at the India Board office when 

Lord B told me that I should have ten thousand 

pagodas per annum, and all my expenses paid ; and 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



you may remember that you proposed that as the 
allowance differed only a few hundred pagodas from 
that of a Kesident, it should be made the same. I 

never thought of taking a muchalka ^ from Lord B , 

because I certainly never suspected that my expenses 
would, above two years ago, have been restricted to 
five hundred pagodas, a sum which hardly pays my 
servants and camp equipage; or that Mr. Elliot 
would have taken me by the neck and pushed me out 
of the appointment the very day on which the three 
years recommended by the Directors expired, though 
they authorized the term to be prolonged if deemed 
advisable. . . . 

' With respect to myself, it is impossible that I can 
undertake the settlement in detail of any part of this 
country. I am as well with regard to general health 
as ever I was in my life ; but my eyes have suffered 
so much, that I write with great difficulty at all 
times, and there are some days when I cannot write 
at all. Without sight nothing can be done in settling. 
It is a business that requires a man to write while 
he speaks, to have the pen constantly in his hand, to 
take notes of what is said by every person, to com- 
pare the information given by different men on the 
same subject, and to make an abstract from the whole. 
Since July last I have been obliged to change the 
number of my spectacles three times ; and if j^ou are 
a spectacle-man, you will understand what a rapid 

^ A written bond ; see Yule's Hohson-Johson. 



PINDARI AND MARATHA WARS, 1 817-18 171 



decay of vision this implies. I cannot now do in two 
days what a few years ago I did in one, and I can do 
nothing with ease to myself. I cannot write without 
a painful sensation in my eyes of straining. The 
only chance of saving my sight is to quit business 
entirely for some months, and turn my eyes upon 
larger objects only, in order to give them relief. At the 
rate I am now going, in a few months more I shall 
not be able to tell a dockan from a breckan. Before 
this happens I must go home and paddle in the burn. 
This is a much nicer way of passing the evening of 
life, than going about the country here in my military 
boots and brigadier's enormous hat and feathers, 
frightening every cow and buffalo, shaking horribly 
its fearful nature, and making its tail stand on end. 
I shall wilhngly, now that all the great operations of 
war are over, resign this part of it to any one else. 
I am not like the Archbishop of Granada, for I feel 
that I am sadly fallen off in my homilies. ' 

The following is to Mr. Finlay, Lord Provost of 
Glasgow, dated Bangalore, September 11, 1818: — 

^A great deal of fine cotton is grown in the 
provinces which have fallen into our hands. I was 
too much engaged in war and politics to have time to 
enter into inquiries regarding its fitness for the 
European market. The inhabitants have been so 
much impoverished by their late weak and rapacious 
Government, that it will be a long time before they 
can be good customers to Glasgow or Manchester. 
In those districts which I traversed myself, I fear 



1^2 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



that I left them no richer than I found them; for 
wherever I went, I appointed myself collector, and 
levied as much revenue as could be got, both to pay 
my own irregular troops and to rescue it from the 
grasp of the enemy. 

* I shall not trouble you with military operations, 
as you will get the details in the newspapers. It is 
fortunate for India that the Peshwa commenced 
hostilities, and forced us to overthrow his power ; for 
the Maratha Government, from its foundation, has 
been one of devastation. It never relinquishes the 
predatory habits of its founder, and even when its 
empire was most extensive it was little better than 
a horde of imperial thieves. It was continually 
destroying all within its reach, and never repairing. 
The effect of such a system has been the diminution 
of the wealth and population of a great portion of 
the peninsula of India. The breaking down of the 
Maratha Government, and the protection which the 
country will now receive, will gradually increase its 
resources, and I hope in time restore it to so much 
prosperity as to render it worthy the attention of our 
friends in Glasgow. 

* Bailie Jarvie is a credit to our town, and I could 
almost swear that I have seen both him and his 
father, the deacon, afore him, in the Saltmarket ; and 
I trust that^ if I am spared, and get back there again, 
I shall see some of his worthy descendants walking in 
his steps. Had the Bailie been here, we could have 
shown him many greater thieves, but none so respect- 



FIND Art and marAtha wars, i 817-18 173 



able as Kob Roy. The difference between the Maratha 
and the Highland Rob is, that the one does from choice 
what the other did from necessity; for a Marathd, 
would rather get ten pounds by plunder than a hun- 
dred by an honest calling, whether in the Saltmarket 
or the Gallowgate. 

* I am thinking, as the boys in Scotland say, I am 
thinking, Provost, that I am wasting my time very 
idly in this country, and that it would be, or at least 
would look wiser, to be living quietly and doucely at 
home. Were I now there, instead of running about 
the country with camps here, I might at this moment 
be both pleasantly and profitably employed in gather- 
ing black boyds with you among the braes near the 
Largs. There is no enjoyment in this country equal 
to it, and I heartily wish that I were once more fairly 
among the bushes with you, even at the risk of being 
stickit by yon drove of wild knowte " that looked so 
sharply after us ^. Had they found us asleep in the 
dyke, they would have made us repent breaking the 
Sabbath, although I thought there was no great harm 
in doing such a thing in your company.' 



^ See note on page 152. 



CHAPTER XII 

Second Visit to England 

In January, 1819, General and Mrs. Munro sailed 
from Madras for England. At St. Helena the vessel 
stopped for some days, and Munro visited the spots 
associated with the presence of Napoleon. On May 30, 
when the vessel was in the latitude of the Azores, 
a son was born to him — the present Sir Thomas 
Munro. Towards the end of June^ Munro and his 
family reached England, and proceeded at once to the 
homes of their friends in Scotland. 

But his fame had preceded him ; it was no longer 
confined to the Karnatik, the Baramahal, or the Ma- 
ratha country. In a vote of thanks to the army, after 
the termination of the Maratha War, Mr. Canning 
in the House of Commons thus alluded to the services 
of General Munro. 

'At the southern extremity of this long line of 
operations, and in a part of the campaign carried on 
in a district far from public gaze, and without the 
opportunities of early especial notice, was employed 
a man whose name I should indeed have been sorry 
to have passed over in silence. I allude to Colonel 



SECOND VISIT TO ENGLAND 175 

Thomas Munro, a gentleman of whose rare qualifica- 
tions the late House of Commons had opportunities 
of judging at their bar, on the renewal of the East 
India Company's Charter, and than whom Europe 
never produced a more accomplished statesman, nor 
India, so fertile in heroes, a more skilful soldier. 
This gentleman, whose occupations for some years 
must have been rather of a civil and administrative 
than a military nature, was called early in the war to 
exercise abilities which, though dormant, had not 
rusted from disuse. He went into the field with not 
more than five or six hundred men, of whom a very 
small proportion were Europeans, and marched 
into the Mardtha territories, to take possession of 
the country which had been ceded to us by the treaty 
of Poona. The population which he subjugated by 
arms, he managed with such address, equity, and 
wisdom, that he established an empire over their 
hearts and feelings. Nine forts were surrendered 
to him, or taken by assault, on his way ; and at the 
end of a silent and scarcely observed progress, he 
emerged from a territory heretofore hostile to the 
British interest, with an accession instead of a diminu- 
tion of force, leaving everything secure and tranquil 
behind him. This result speaks more than could be 
told by any minute and extended commentary.' 

Munro had already been thought of for an Indian 
Governorship; in August, 181 8, the Governorship of 
Bombay being about to fall vacant, Mr. Canning 
submitted to the Court of Directors the names of 



176 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



Sir John Malcolm, Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone, and 
Col. Munro, observing that though it had been the 'prac- 
tice of the Court to look for their Governors rather 
among persons of eminence in this country than 
among the servants of the Company, the extraordinary 
zeal and ability which have been displayed by so 
many of the Company's servants, civil and military, 
in the course of the late brilliant and complicated war, 
and the peculiar situation which the results of that 
war had placed the affairs of the Presidency at Bombay, 
appear to constitute a case for a deviation from the 
general practice.' ' The gentlemen,' he adds, ' whose 
names I have mentioned have been selected by me 
as conspicuous examples of desert in the various 
departments of your service, and on that scene of 
action which has been most immediately under our 
observation.' 

All three of those named were destined to fill 
Indian Governorships. The Hon. Mountstuart Elphin- 
stone was now selected for Bombay ; he had been Resi- 
dent at the Court of the Peshwa at Poona since 181 1, 
and during the last Maratha war had been brought into 
official communication with Munro, the former carrying 
on the campaign in the North Maratha country and the 
latter in the South. Sir John Malcolm, Munro's old 
friend at Seringapatam, and like the other two also 
engaged in the last Maratha war, succeeded Elphin- 
stone as Governor of Bombay. Munro was in worthy 
company when named with these two, who formed two 
of * perhaps the most illustrious trio of politicals whom 



SECOND VISIT TO ENGLAND 177 

the Indian services had produced.' His time soon 
came, for not many months after his arrival from India 
he was nominated to the Governorship of Madras in 
succession to Mr. Hugh Elliot, with whom he had 
had no too pleasant official intercourse when he was 
President of the Judicial Commission a few years 
previously. 

Munro, who had before he left India been gazetted 
Companion of the Bath (Oct. 1818), was promoted to 
the rank of Major-General in August, 1819, and on 
his acceptance of the Governorship of Madras he was 
created a K.C.B. Before his departure for India Sir 
Thomas Munro was entertained at a banquet by the 
Court of Directors, at which his old friend the Duke 
of Wellington was present, as well as Lord Eldon and 
the rest of His Majesty's Ministers, In an eloquent 
speech Mr. Canning bore testimony to the high esteem 
in which the Governor-elect was held. In the course 
of it he said : 

* We bewilder ourselves in this part of the world 
with opinions respecting the sources from which power 
is derived. Some suppose it to arise with the people 
themselves, while others entertain a different view ; 
all, however, are agreed that it should be exercised 
for the people. If ever an appointment took place to 
which this might be ascribed as the distinguishing 
motive, it was that which we have now come together 
to celebrate ; and I have no doubt that the meritorious 
officer who has been appointed to the Government of 
Madras will in the execution of his duty ever keep in 

M 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



view those measures which will best conduce to the 
happiness of twelve millions of people.' 

Writing to a friend a day or two before he sailed 
for India, Sir Thomas said : * I do not know that I shall 
derive so much enjoyment from the whole course of 
my government as from what passed that evening. 
It is worth while to be a Governor to be spoken of in 
such a manner by such a man.' 

Sir Thomas and Lady Munro embarked for India 
in the middle of December, arrived at Bombay in May, 
where they were entertained for a fortnight by the 
Governor, Mr. Elphinstone, and thence proceeded by 
sea for Madras, where they landed on the 8th of June, 
1820, and he was sworn in as Governor of Madras two 
days later. 

In his diary for May 28, Mr. Elphinstone thus alludes 
to the visit of the Satrap of the Southern Presidency: 

* Sir T. and Lady Munro went off. I am more than 
ever delighted with him ; besides all his old sound sense 
and dignity, all his old good humour, simplicity and 
philanthropy, Sir Thomas now discovered an acquaint- 
ance with literature, a taste and relish for poetry, 
and an ardent and romantic turn of mind, which 
counteracted the effect of his age and sternness, and 
gave the highest possible finish to his character. I felt 
as much respect for him as for a father, and as much 
freedom as with a brother. He is certainly a man of 
great natural genius, matured by long toil in war and 
peace.' — Colebrooke's Life of Mountstuart Elphinstone, 
ii. 110. 



CHAPTER XIII 



Governor of Madras, 1820-1827— Administrative 

Reforms 

At the time of Sir Thomas Munro's assumption of 
the Governorship of Madras there were many questions 
of special importance requiring settlement, and many 
reforms needed, not very palatable to the officials who 
represented the previous regime. How judiciously 
Munro himself acted may be inferred from the counsel 
he gave a few months after his arrival to Colonel 
Newall with reference to his appointment as Resident 
of Travancore. ' You will, I hope,' he writes, ' keep 
everything just as you find it, and let the public 
business go on as if no change had taken place. You 
will, like all new men coming to the head of an office, 
be assailed by thousands of complaints against the 
servants of your predecessor. You can hear them 
calmly and leisurely, and if you are satisfied that 
they have acted wrong you can remove them. But 
in all these matters too much caution cannot be used, 
and I hope you will write to me on the subject before 
you attempt any innovation. We have already, I 
think, made too many in this country.' 

Writing in the following March to Mr. Canning he 
M z 



i8o 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



says that, though he had not made any extension of 
the Regulations of 1816, he had ^ never lost sight of 
the principles on which they are founded, namely, the 
relief of the people from novel and oppressive modes 
of judicial process ; the improvement of our internal 
administration by employing Europeans and natives 
in those duties for which they are respectively best 
suited; and the strengthening of the attachment of 
the natives to our government by maintaining their 
ancient institutions and usages/ 

On hearing that Canning had resigned his office 
of President of the Board of Control he wrote to him 
stating that he 'lamented it deeply both on public 
and private grounds,' and he then proceeds to give 
his views, novel at the time, on * India for the 
Indians ' : — 

* I always dread changes at the head of the India 
Board, for I fear some downright Englishman may at 
last get there, who will insist on making Anglo-Saxons 
of the Hindus. I believe there are men in England 
who think that this desirable change has been already 
effected in some degree ; and that it would long since 
have been completed, had it not been opposed by the 
Company's servants. I have no faith in the modern 
doctrine of the rapid improvement of the Hindus, or 
of any other people. The character of the Hindus is 
probably much the same as when Vasco da Gama first 
visited India, and it is not likely that it will be much 
better a century hence. 

* The strength of our government will, no doubt, in 



GOVERNOR OF MADRAS, 18:^0-1827 181 

that period, by preventing the wars so frequent in 
former times, increase the wealth and population of 
the country. We shall also, by the establishment 
of schools, extend among the Hindus the knowledge 
of their own literature, and of the language and 
literature of England. But all this will not improve 
their character ; we shall make them more pliant and 
servile, more industrious, and perhaps more skilful in 
the arts, — and we shall have fewer banditti ; but we 
shall not raise their moral character. Our present 
system of government, by excluding all natives from 
power, and trust, and emolument, is much more effica- 
cious in depressing, than all our laws and school-books 
can do in elevating their character. We are working 
against our own designs, and we can expect to make 
no progress while we work with a feeble instrument to 
improve, and a powerful one to deteriorate. The 
improvement of the character of a people, and the 
keeping them, at the same time, in the lowest state of 
dependence on foreign rulers, to which they can be 
reduced by conquest, are matters quite incompatible 
with each other. 

' There can be no hope of any great zeal for 
improvement, when the highest acquirements can lead 
to nothing beyond some petty office, and can confer 
neither wealth nor honour. While the prospects of 
the natives are so bounded, every project for bettering 
their characters must fail ; and no such projects can 
have the smallest chance of success, unless some of 
those objects are placed within their reach for the 



l82 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



sake of which men are urged to exertion in other 
countries. This work of improvement, in whatever 
way it may be attempted, must be very slow, but it 
will be in proportion to the degree of confidence which 
we repose in them, and to the share which we give them 
in the administration of public affairs. All that we 
can give them, without endangering our own ascend- 
ancy, should be given. All real military power must 
be kept in our own hands ; but they might, with 
advantage hereafter, be made eligible to every civil 
office under that of a member of the Government. 
The change should be gradual, because they are not 
yet fit to discharge properly the duties of a high civil 
employment, according to our rules and ideas; but 
the sphere of their employment should be extended in 
proportion as we find that they become capable of 
filling properly higher situations. 

^ We shall never have much accurate knowledge of 
the resources of the country, or of the causes by which 
they are raised or depressed ; we shall always assess 
it very unequally, and often too high, until we learn 
to treat the higher classes of natives as gentlemen, 
and to make them assist us accordingly in doing 
what is done by the House of Commons in England, 
in estimating and apportioning the amount of 
taxation.' 

Among the matters that the Governor had to deal 
with were more than one to which residents in Madras 
in the last quarter of a century could find a parallel. 
In some trouble was caused by the efforts made 



GOVERNOR OF MADRAS, 1 8 20-1827 183 

by a sub-collector in Bellary to convert the natives to 
Christianity ; and from Sir Thomas Munro's long and 
able minute on the subject, the following extracts are 
worth quoting : — 

' Everything in the sub-collector's report is highly 
commendable, excepting those passages in which he 
speaks of the character of the natives, and of his 
having distributed books among them. He evinces 
strong prejudice against them, and deplores the ignor- 
ance of the rayats, and their uncouth speech, which he 
observes must for ever prevent direct communication 
between them and the European authorities. He 
speaks as if these defects were peculiar to India, and as 
if all the farmers and labourers of England were well 
educated and spoke a pure dialect. . . . 

' Mr. , in fact, did all that a missionary could 

have done ; he employed his own and the district 
cutcherries in the work ; and he himself both dis- 
tributed and explained. If he had been a missionary, 
what more could he have done ? He could not have 
done so much. He could not have assembled the 
inhabitants, or employed the cutcherries in distributing 
moral and religious tracts. No person could have 
done this but a civil servant^ and in Harpanahalli 
and Bellary none could have done it but him ; yet he 
cannot in this discover official interference. . . . 

* He employs his official authority for missionary 
purposes ; and when he is told by his superior that 
he is wrong, he justifies his acts by quotations from 
Scripture, and by election, a doctrine which has 



SIjR THOMAS MUNRO 



occasioned so much controversy ; and he leaves it to 
be inferred that Government must either adopt his 
views or act contrary to divine authority. A person 
who can, as a sub-collector and magistrate, bring 
forward such matters for discussion, and seriously 
desire that they may be placed on record and 
examined by Government, is not in a frame of mind 
to be restrained within the proper limits of his duty 
by any official rules. . , . 

*In every country, but especially in this, where 
the rulers are so few, and of a different race from the 
people, it is the most dangerous of all things to tamper 
with religious feelings ; they may be apparently 
dormant, and when we are in unsuspecting security 
they may burst forth in the most tremendous manner, 
as at Vellore; they may be set in motion by the 
slightest casual incident, and do more mischief in 
one year than all the labours of missionary collectors 
would repair in a hundred. Should they produce 
only a partial disturbance, which is quickly put down, 
even in this case the evil would be lasting ; distrust 
would be raised between the people and the Govern- 
ment, which would never entirely subside, and the 
district in which it happened would never be so safe 
as before. The agency of collectors and magistrates, 
as religious instructors, can effect no possible good. 
It may for a moment raise the hopes of a few sanguine 
men ; but it will end in disturbance and failure, and, 
instead of forwarding, will greatly retard, every chance 
of ultimate success. ... 



GOVERNOR OF MADRAS, 1820-1827 185 



' The best way for a collector to instruct the natives 
is to set them an example in his own conduct ; to 
try to settle their disputes with each other, and to pre- 
vent their going to law ; to bear patiently all their 
complaints against himself and his servants, and bad 
seasons, and to afford them all the relief in his power ; 
and, if he can do nothing more, to give them at least 
good words. 

' Whatever change it may be desirable to produce 
upon the characters of the natives may be effected by 
much safer and surer means than official interference 
with their religion. Kegular missionaries are sent 
out by the Honourable the Court of Directors, and 
by different European Governments. These men visit 
every part of the country, and pursue their labours 
without the smallest hindrance ; and, as they have no 
power, they are well received everywhere. In order 
to dispose the natives to receive our instruction and 
to adopt our opinions, we must first gain their 
attachment and confidence, and this can only be 
accomplished by a pure administration of justice, by 
moderate assessment, respect for their customs, and 
general good government.' 

In the end of May, just before Munro^s arrival in 
Madras, a riot, in which several lives were lost, took 
place in Masulipatam, between different castes, arising 
out of a dispute about ceremonies. In his Minute as 
Governor, dated July 3, 1820, he remarks as follows on 
the action of the collector whose * well-known zeal 
had led him to adopt measures for the prevention of 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



such disturbances, which if sanctioned would rather 
augment than mitigate the evil : — 

'The collector's proposition is that all differences 
respecting procession and other ceremonies should be 
decided by the courts of law, and that, in the mean- 
time, he should support the party whose claim seems 
consistent with natural right. He observes that the 
beating of tom-toms, riding in a palankeen, and erect- 
ing a pandal, are privileges which injure nobody, and 
naturally belong to every person who can afford to 
pay for them. This is very true ; but it is also true 
that things equally harmless in themselves have in 
all ages and in all nations, and in our own as well 
as in others, frequently excited the most obstinate and 
sanguinary contests. The alteration of a mere form 
or symbol of no importance has as often produced 
these effects as an attack on the fundamental prin- 
ciples of the national faith. It would therefore be 
extremely imprudent to use the authority of Govern- 
ment in supporting the performance of ceremonies 
which we know are likely to be opposed by a large 
body of the natives. On all such occasions it would 
be most advisable that the officers of Government 
should take no part, but entirely confine themselves 
to the preservation of the public peace, which will, in 
almost every case, be more likely to be secured bj^ 
discouraging, rather than promoting, disputed claims 
to the right of using palankeens, flags, and other 
marks of distinction during the celebration of certain 
ceremonies. 



GOVERNOR OF MADRAS, 18^^0-1827 187 

*The magistrate seems to think that, because a 
decision of the Zillah Court put a stop to the opposition 
given to the caste of Banians, in having the Vaduldam 
rites performed in their houses in the language of the 
Vedas, it would have the same efficacy in stopping 
the opposition to marriage processions ; but the cases 
are entirely different. The Banians have the sanction 
of the shastras for the use of the Vaduklam rites in 
their families ; the ceremony is private, and the opposi- 
tion is only by a few Brahmans. But in the case of 
the marriage procession, there is no sanction of the 
shastras; the ceremony is public and lasts for days 
together, and the opposition is by the whole of the 
right-hand against the whole of the left-hand castes, 
and brings every Hindu into the conflict. 

' The result of the magistrate's experiment ought to 
make us avoid the repetition of it. We find from his 
own statement that the mischief was occasioned by 
his wish to restore to the caste of goldsmiths the right 
of riding in a palankeen, which he considered to 
belong to every man who chose to pay for it. He 
annulled a former order against it, in consequence of 
the complaint of the Zillah Court, that he was 
hindered by it from performing his son's marriage in 
a manner suitable to his rank ; and as he did not 
apprehend any disturbance, he left Masulipatam 
before the ceremony took place. The assistant magis- 
trate, however, two days before its commencement, 
I'eceived information that opposition was intended. 
He did whatever could be done to preserve the peace 



i88 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



of the town, but to no purpose. He issued a proclama- 
tion, stationed the police in the streets to prevent riot, 
reinforced them with the revenue peons, and desired 
the officer commanding the troops to keep them in 
readiness within their lines. But in spite of all these 
precautions a serious affray, as might have been 
expected, occurs, in which property is plundered and 
lives are lost ; and all this array of civil and military 
power, and all this tumult, arises solely from its being 
thought necessary that a writer of the court should 
have a palankeen at the celebration of a marriage. 
Had the writer not looked for the support of the 
magistrate^ he would undoubtedly not have ventured 
to go in procession, and no disturbance would have 
happened. 

' The magistrate states that this very writer had gone 
about for many years in a palankeen without hind- 
rance. But this is not the point in dispute : it is not 
his using a palankeen on his ordinary business, but 
his going in procession. It is this which constitutes 
the triumph of one party and the defeat of the other, 
and which, whilst such opinions are entertained by the 
natives, will always produce affrays. The magistrate 
supposes that the opposition was not justified by the 
custom of the country, because it was notorious that 
in many places of the same district the goldsmith 
caste went in procession in palankeens. This is very 
likely; but it does not affect the question, which 
relates solely to what is the custom of the town of 
Masulipatam, not to what that of other places is. . . . 



GOVERNOR OF MADRAS, 1 820-1 827 189 

^ It would be desirable that the customs of the castes, 
connected with their public ceremonies, should be the 
same everywhere, and that differences respecting them 
should be settled by decisions of the courts ; but as 
this is impossible while these prejudices remain, we 
ought in the meantime to follow the course most 
likely to prevent disorder and outrage. The conflicts 
of the castes are usually most serious and most 
frequent when one party or the other expects the 
support of the officers of Government. They are 
usually occasioned by supporting some innovation 
respecting ceremonies, but rarely by punishing it. The 
magistrate ought, therefore, to give no aid whatever 
to any persons desirous of celebrating marriages or 
other festivals, or public ceremonies in any way not 
usual in the place, but rather to discountenance inno- 
vation. He ought, in all disputes between the castes, 
to take no part beyond what may be necessary in 
order to preserve the peace ; and he ought to punish 
the rioters on both sides, in cases of affray, for breach 
of the peace, and on the whole to conduct himself in 
such a manner as to make it evident to the people that 
he favours the pretensions of neither side, but looks 
only to the maintenance of the peace. 

*I recommend that instructions in conformity to 
these suggestions be sent to the magistrates for their 
guidance.* 

It would be impossible to give in this volume 
more than an idea of the variety of subjects and the 
importance of the topics in the Minutes issued by 



190 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



Miinro. In the valuable collection of his Minutes 
and other official writings selected and edited by 
Sir A. J. Arbuthnot, there are over ninety papers 
under the heads of Revenue, Judicial, Political, 
Military, and Miscellaneous. Among them are Minutes 
on the settlement of Salem and of Kanara, the principle 
of the rayatwari system, on the revenue survey, on 
the state of the country and the condition of the 
people, on trial by Panchayat, on the administration 
of justice, on the interfering with the succession of 
native princes, on the maladministration of Mysore, 
on recruiting the army by drafts from Europe, on 
relieving entire regiments, on reductions in the Madras 
army, on procuring military stores from England or 
manufacturing them in India, on the war in Burma, 
on the course to be taken by Government in dealing 
with a scarcity of grain, on import duties, on the 
Eurasian population, on the proper mode of dealing 
with charges against native officials, on pecuniary 
transactions between a European District officer and 
a zamindar, on the danger of a free press in India, 
on the employment of natives in the public service, 
and on the education of the natives of India. 

On few reforms did Munro more frequently insist 
than the necessity of more largely utilizing native 
agency, and he strongly pointed out the impolicy of 
excluding the natives of India from all situations of 
trust. A passage on this subject has been quoted from 
his letter to Mr. Canning, and three years later in an 
important Minute on the state of the country and the 



GOVERNOR OF MADRAS, 1820-3827 191 



condition of the people he once more argues the cause 
of the admission of the natives of the country to 
positions of trust and emolument. ' With what 
grace,* he asks, * can we talk of paternal government 
if we exclude the natives from every important office, 
and say, as we did till very lately, that in a country 
containing fifteen millions of inhabitants no man but 
a European shall be entrusted with as much authority 
as to order the punishment of a single stroke of 
a rattan? . . . Let Britain be subjugated by a foreign 
power to-morrow, let the people be excluded from all 
share in the government, from public honours, from 
every office of high trust and emolument, and let 
them in every situation be considered as unworthy of 
trust, and all their knowledge and all their literature, 
sacred and profane, would not save them from becoming 
in another generation or two, a low-minded, deceitful, 
and dishonest race.' 

Writing to Munro, Oct. 27, 1822, the Governor of 
Bombay, Mr. Elphinstone, says : — 

* I hear you have instituted something like a Native 
Board of Revenue at Madras, and I should be much 
obliged if you would inform me of the nature of the 
plan. It seems to be one great advantage of the 
arrangement that it opens a door to the employment 
of natives in high and efficient situations. I should 
be happy to know if you think the plan can be 
extended to the judicial or any other line. Besides 
the necessity for having good native advisers in 
governing natives, it is necessary that we should pave 



ig2 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



the wav for the introduction of the natives to some 
share in the government of their own country. It 
may be half a century before we are obliged to do so ; 
but the system of government and of education which 
we have already established must some time or other 
work such a change on the people of this country 
that it will be impossible to confine them to subor- 
dinate employments ; and if we have not previously 
opened vents for their ambition and ability we may 
expect an explosion which will overturn our govern- 
ment. 

'I should be much obliged also if you would tell me 
whether you think some rules might not be passed 
(though not promulgated) for pensioning or endowing 
with lands native public servants of extraordinary 
merit, as well as of pensioning all who accomplished 
a certain period of service. 

* I have had none of your Minutes for a long time ; 
and, as I do not know your present private secretary, 
I do not know how to apply for a proper selection ; but 
I set a high value on those I have received, and should 
be very thankful if the supply could be continued 

In 1822 Munro directed the Board of Eevenue to 
ascertain the number of schools and the state of 
education among the natives in the provinces, and 
after receipt of the reports from the collectors, he 
summarized and remarked on the Board's review. 
The main causes of the low state of education he con- 
sidered to be the little encouragement which it received 

^ Colebrooke's Life, ii. 142. 



GOVERNOR OF MADRAS, \'6%0-\%%^ 193 



from there being but little demand for it, and the 
poverty of the people ; but these difficulties might be 
surmounted by good education being rendered more 
easy and general, and by the preference which would 
be given to well-educated men in all public offices. 
He therefore authorized a grant to the Madras School 
Book Society for educating teachers, and directed the 
establishment in each CoUectorate of two principal 
schools, one for Hindus and one for Muhammadans, 
and one for each Taluk ; the monthly salaries of the 
teachers were to be only Es. 15 and Rs. 9, but as each 
schoolmaster would get as much more from his 
scholars *his situation will probably be better than 
that of a parish schoolmaster in Scotland.' 'Whatever 
expense,' he wrote, ' Government may incur in the 
education of the people will be amply repaid by the 
improvement of the country, for the general diffusion 
of knowledge is inseparably followed by more orderly 
habits, by increasing industry, by a taste for the 
comforts of life, by exertions to acquire them, and by 
the growing prosperity of the people.' 



CHAPTER XIV 



The Bukmese War, i 824-1 8jj6 

Though complete peace reigned throughout the 
Madras Presidency during Munro's tenure of office — 
as indeed may be said to have been the case ever since 
— it included one of the most important events in 
the history of British India — the first Burmese war, 
1 824-1 826. The Burmese had taken possession of the 
island of Shahpuri off the coast of Chittagong, over- 
run Assam, and made a series of encroachments on 
the British Districts of Bengal. War was declared by 
the Governor- General, Lord Amherst, on February 
24, 1824, but it was not till the 23rd of that month 
that the Government of Madras learned that war 
was even impending on being informed that that 
Presidency would be required to furnish the native 
branch of the force. 

Writing to the Duke of Wellington, Munro said 
that in the previous September (1823) he had sent 
a letter to the Court of Directors asking to be relieved ; 
he had been long enough in India, and as everything 
was quiet and settling in good order he thought it 
a proper time for leaving ; had he suspected that in 
a few months there was to be both war and famine 



THE BURMESE WAR, i8!i4-i 8ij6 195 



he should never have thought of resigniDg until our 
difficulties were at an end. * I was probably,' he says, 
* more surprised at hearing of the intended war than 
people will be at home, for I had not the least suspi- 
cion that we were to go to war with the King of Ava 
till a letter reached this Presidency in February last, 
asking us what number of troops we could furnish 
for foreign service.' 

On February 25, 1824, Munro wrote to Lord 
Amherst stating what Madras could do. ' Our troops,' 
he said, ^ lie convenient^ and they are eager to be 
employed. I am no less anxious that they should go 
wherever there is service, but I wish at the same time 
that they should go with every means to guard against 
failure. A service of this kind requires more than any 
other that every equipment should be ample, because 
there can seldom be any medium between complete suc- 
cess and failure, partial success is little better than an 
expensive failure/ Lord Amherst at once replied seek- 
ing Munro' s advice, stating that the matters on which 
he had already written were ' far beyond the reach of 
his experience,' and that he ' might rely upon frequent 
communications from his Government upon all matters 
connected with the measures in contemplation.' 

A constant correspondence was kept up between the 
Governor- General and Munro, whose long experience 
of Indian warfare and knowledge of Asiatic character 
enabled him to be a wise counsellor, in addition to his 
indefatigable exertions in seeing to the despatch of 
troops, boats, transport, bullocks, and. supplies ; at 




196 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



the same time he took precautions that there should be 
neither an outbreak nor the fear of it owing to the 
Presidency being almost denuded of troops. 

Writing to Munro on April 1824, Lord Amherst 
informed Munro of the conditions of peace to be 
offered to the Burmese, as soon as Rangoon should 
be taken : — 

* We have no wish to weaken or dismember the 
Burmese Empire, nor to acquire for ourselves any 
extension of the territory we already possess. We 
purpose to require that the Burmese should relinquish 
their newly-acquired possessions in Assam, from 
whence they have the means of descending the 
Brahmaputra, and overrunning our provinces at 
a season of the year when our troops cannot keep 
the field ; that they should renounce the right of inter- 
ference in the independent countries of Cachar ; that 
the boundary between Chittagong and Arakan should 
be accurately defined ; and finally, that they should 
pay the expenses, or a share of the expenses, of the 
war in which they have compelled us to engage. 
These conditions, with the addition, possibly, of a 
stipulation respecting the independence of Manipur, 
we are, I think, entitled to demand.' 

The following extract from a letter from Munro to 
Mr. Sulivan, dated July 11, 1825, gives his views on 
the progress of the war up to that date : — 

*The original plan of the invasion of Ava was 
romantic and visionary, and was, I believe, suggested 
by Captain Canning. It was that Sir A. Campbell, 



THE BURMESE WAR, 1824-1826 197 

after occupying Rangoon and collecting a sufficient 
number of boats, should, with the help of the south- 
west wind, proceed against the stream to Amarapura 
at once. This, even if it had been practicable, was 
too hazardous, as it would have exposed the whole 
force to destruction, from the intercepting of its 
supplies. Had there been boats enough, this scheme 
might have been partially executed with great 
advantage, by going up the river as high as Sarawa. 
This would have given us the command of the delta, 
and of the navigation of all the branches of the Irawadi, 
and would have saved the troops from much of the 
privations which they have suffered from being shut 
up at Rangoon. But even if there had been a 
sufficient number of boats, Sir A. Campbell would 
have been justified, by our ignorance of the country 
and of the enemy, in not making the attempt until he 
should have received more troops, to leave detach- 
ments at different places on the river, to keep open 
his communications with Rangoon. 

^ When Captain Canning's plan of sailing up to the 
capital was abandoned, two others were thought of, 
but both were impracticable : one was to proceed in 
the dry season by land from Pegu ; the other was to 
re-embark the troops, land somewhere on the coast of 
Arakan, and march from thence through the hills to 
the Irawadi. This Government, from its subordinate 
situation, has of course nothing to say in the plans of 
foreign war ; but I took advantage of a private corre- 
spondence with which I have been honoured by Lord 



198 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



Amherst, to state privately my opinion strongly 
against both plans. I said that re-embarkation would 
be attended with the most disgraceful and disastrous 
consequences ; that the measure would be supposed to 
have proceeded from fear; that it would encourage 
the enemy, and would deter the people of the country 
wherever we might again land, from coming near us, 
or bringing us provisions for sale ; that we knew 
nothing of the coast of Arakan or the interior ; that 
if the troops landed there, they would be in greater 
distress than at Kangoon, because they would find less 
rice, and be as much exposed to the weather ; that 
they could not possibly penetrate into the country 
without carriage cattle, of which they had none ; and 
that they would be at last compelled to re-embark 
again without effecting anything. I said that the 
nature of the country, and the difficulty of sending 
draught and carriage cattle by sea, pointed out clearly 
that our main line of operations could only be by the 
course of the Irawadi^ partly by land ^ and partly by 
water, and that this would give us the double advan- 
tage of passing through the richest part of the enemy's 
country, and of cutting off his communication with it 
whenever we got above the point where the branches 
separate from the main stream of the L^awadi. 

^ I calculated that if Sir A. Campbell adopted this 
plan, he would reach Prome before the rains ; and 
that when they were over, he would be able to con- 

1 He had recommended that the Bengal troops should advance by 
Manipur. 



THE BURMESE WAR, 18124-1826 



199 



tinue his march to Amarapura. When I reckoned on 
his getting no farther than Prome this season, I had 
not so low an opinion of the Burman troops as I now 
have. I was induced to form a very low estimate of 
their military character, from their cautious and irreso- 
lute operations against the detachment at Ramu, in 
May, 1824; and from all their subsequent conduct they 
appear to be very inferior in military spirit to any of 
the nations of India. There were no letters from 
Prome later than the 6th of June ; the monsoon had set 
in, and everything in the neighbourhood was quiet. 
The heads of districts had submitted, and were send- 
ing in supplies. It was expected that offers of peace 
would be sent from Ava as soon as the occupation of 
Prome should be known. It is difficult to say what 
such a government will do ; it may submit to our 
terms or reject them ; but we ought to be prepared to 
ensure them by advancing to Amarapura, and, if 
necessary, dismembering the empire^ and restoring the 
Pegu nation. If we encouraged them, a leader would 
probably be found, and we might, without committing 
ourselves to protect him hereafter, make him strong 
enough, before we left the country, to maintain himself 
against the broken power of Ava. 

' We have sent on foreign service beyond sea, from 
Madras, five regiments of European infantry, fourteen 
regiments of Native infantry, two companies of 
European artillery, a battalion of pioneers, and above 
one thousand dooly bearers, and we have relieved the 
Bengal subsidiary force at Nagpur. The rest of our 



200 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



troops arc thinly scattered over a great extent of 
country, and will have very severe duty until those on 
foreign service return. We are obliged to be more 
careful than in ordinary times ; but I see no reason 
to apprehend any serious commotion, or anything 
beyond the occasional disturbances of poligars, which 
we are seldom for any long time ever entirely free 
from in this country. I confess I cannot understand 
what the Bengal Government want to do with so 
many additional troops, or with any addition at all. 
Mr. Adam left them quite enough, and more than 
enough, to carry on the Burman war and to protect 
their own territory. They have not sent a single 
Native regiment beyond sea, except a marine bat- 
talion; they have in Arakan and their eastern frontier 
twelve or thirteen Native regiments more than 
formerly ; but they have got nine of them by troops 
at Nagpur and Mhow having been relieved from 
Madras and Bombay, while these troops, which have 
moved to the eastward, still cover the country from 
which they were drawn. We had once five battalions 
in the Baramahal; we have one there now — the whole 
have been advanced to the Ceded Districts. The 
military authorities in Bengal seem to think that when 
troops are drawn together in large bodies in time of 
war, new levies must always be made to occupy the 
stations from which troops have been taken to join 
the large body. If we follow such a principle, there 
can be no limit to the increase of our armies. I found 
much inconvenience from its adoption in Bengal, 



THE BURMESE WAR, 1824-1826 20I 



because the increase of the Bengal army is narrowly 
observed by the armies of the other Presidencies, and 
raises expectations which cannot be satisfied/ 

At the conclusion of the war Munro thus expressed 
his views on the peace and as to what should have 
been done in a letter to the Duke of Wellington, 
dated April 16, 1826 : — 

did not think of troubling you with another 
letter ; but as we have at last made peace with the 
Burmans, I think I may as well give you a few lines 
by way of finishing the war. I mentioned in my last 
what kind of troops the Burman armies were composed 
of, so that it is not necessary to say anything more of 
them, except that they did not improve in the progress 
of the war. We are well out of this war. There have 
been so many projects since it commenced, that I 
scarcely expected ever to see any one plan pursued 
consistently. There has been no want of energy or 
decision at any time in attacking the enemy ; but 
there has certainly been a great want of many of the 
arrangements and combinations by which the move- 
ments of an army are facilitated, and its success rendered 
more certain. There were, no doubt, great difficulties : 
everything was new ; the country was difficult, and the 
climate was destructive ; but still, more enterprise in 
exploring the routes and passes on some occasions, 
and more foresight in others in ascertaining in time 
the means of conveyance and subsistence, and what 
was practicable and what was not, would have saved 
much time. 



20% 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



' We are chiefly indebted for peace to Lord Amherst's 
judgment and firmness in persevering in offensive 
operations, in spite of all arguments in favour of 
a defensive war, founded upon idle alarms about the 
power of the Burmans, and the danger of advancing 
to so great a distance as the capital. Had he given 
way, and directed Sir A. Campbell to amuse himself 
with a defensive system about Prome or Meaday, we 
should have had no peace for another campaign or 
two. Every object that could have been expected 
from the war has been attained. We took what we 
wanted, and the enemy would have given up whatever 
we desired, had it been twice as much. They have 
been so dispirited, and our position in Arakan and 
Martaban gives us such ready access to the Irawadi, 
that I hardly think they will venture to go to war 
with us again. The Tennasserim coast cannot at 
present pay the expense of defending it ; it may 
possibly do so in a few years, as its resources will, no 
doubt, improve in our hands, and there may be 
commercial advantages that may make up for its 
deficiency of territorial revenue. I should have liked 
better to have taken nothing for ourselves in that 
quarter, but to have made Pegu independent, with 
Tennasserim attached to it. 

* Within two months after our landing at Rangoon, 
when it was ascertained that the Court of Ava would 
not treat, I would have set to work to emancipate 
Pegu ; and, had we done so, it would have been in 
a condition to protect itself ; but to make this still 



THE BURMESE WAR, 1824-18^^6 203 



more sure, I would have left a corps of about six 
thousand men in the country until their government 
and military force were properly organized ; five or 
six years would have been fully sufficient for these 
objects, and we could then have gradually withdrawn 
the whole of our force. We should by this plan have 
had only a temporary establishment in Pegu, the 
expense of which would have been chiefly, if not 
wholly, paid by that country ; whereas the expense of 
Tennasserim will, with fortifications, be as great as 
that of Pegu, and will be permanent, and will not 
give us the advantage of having a friendly native 
power to counterbalance Ava. Pegu is so fertile, 
and has so many natural advantages, that it would 
in a few years have been a more powerful state 
than Ava. 

' One principal reason in favour of separating Pegu 
was the great difficulty and slowness with which all our 
operations must have proceeded, had the country been 
hostile, and if the Burman commanders knew how to 
avail themselves properly of this spirit, and the risk 
of total failure from our inability to protect our 
supplies upon our long line of communication. The 
Bengal Government were however always averse to 
the separation of Pegu ; they thought that the 
Burmans and Peguers were completely amalgamated 
into one people ; that the Peguers had no wish for 
independence ; that if they had, there was no prince 
remaining of their dynasty, nor even any chief of 
commanding influence^ to assume the government; 



204 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



that it would retard the attainment of peace ; that the 
project was, in fact, impracticable; and that if even 
practicable, the execution of it was not desirable, as it 
would involve us for ever in Indo-Chinese politics, by 
the necessity of protecting Pegu. Even if we had 
been obliged to keep troops for an unlimited time in 
Pegu, it would have saved the necessity of keeping an 
additional force on the eastern unhealthy frontier of 
Bengal, as the Burmans would never have disturbed 
Bengal while we were in Pegu. The Bengal Govern- 
ment were, no doubt, right in being cautious. They 
acted upon the best, though imperfect, information 
they possessed. 

' Those who have the responsibility cannot be 
expected to be so adventurous as we who have none. 
But I believe that there is no man who is not now 
convinced that the Taliens (Peguers) deserted the 
Burman Government, sought independence, and in 
the hope of obtaining it, though without any pledge 
on our part, aided in supplying all our wants with 
a zeal which could not have been surpassed by our 
subjects. 

' We sent to Rangoon about three thousand five 
hundred draught and carriage bullocks ; and could 
have sent five times as many, had there been 
tonnage.' 

In June, 1825, Sir Thomas Munro's services were 
rewarded by his elevation to a Baronetcy of the 
United Kingdom, and at the same time it was under 
the consideration of the authorities at home to appoint 



THE BURMESE WAR, 1824-18:^6 



him to the Governor- Generalship when it should fall 
vacant ; but, as he wrote to a friend in the India Office, 
it was now too late : ' I am like an overworked 
horse and require a little rest. Ever since I came to 
this Government almost every paper of any importance 
has been written by myself, and during the whole 
course of the Burman war, though little of my writing 
appears, I have been incessantly engaged in discus- 
sions and inquiries and corresponde-nce, all connected 
with the objects of the war, though, from not being 
official, they cannot appear on record. Were I to go 
to Bengal I could hardly hold out two years. . . . 
I never wish to remain in office when I feel that 
I cannot do justice to it.^ 

On April 11, 1826, the Governor-General in Council 
wrote to Sir Thomas expressing the ' heartfelt obliga- 
tions ' of the Government of India ' for the ever-active 
and cordial co-operation of the Madras Government 
in the conduct of the war,' and stating that ' to the 
extraordinary exertions of your Government we are 
mainly indebted for the prosecution of the Burmese 
war to the successful issue which, under Providence, 
has crowned our arms.' In Nov. i8ij6 the Court of 
Directors passed the following resolution • ' Kesolved 
unanimously, That the thanks of this Court be given to 
Major-General Sir Thomas Munro, Bart., K.C.B., for 
the alacrity, zeal, perseverance and forecast which 
he so signally manifested throughout the whole course 
of the late war, in contributing all the available re- 
sources of the Madras Government towards bringing 



2o6 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



it to a successful termination/ And in the House of 
Lords, Lord Goderich declared that it was ^ impossible 
for any one to form an adequate idea of the efforts 
made by Sir Thomas Munro at the head of the Madras 
Government.' 



CHAPTER XV 



Last Tours and Death 

Though no Governor of Madras came to the office 
with such a thorough knowledge of the country, few, 
if any, before or since, have made so extensive and 
prolonged tours throughout the Presidency as Munro 
did. Recent Governors of Madras have in the course of 
frequent tours visited every District in the Presidency, 
and even in the hottest seasons of the year have set 
an example to district officers when in times of famine 
or other difficulties the presence of the head of the 
Government was likely to inspire zeal on the part 
of officials and confidence in the hearts of the people. 
But this has been done with the help of the railways, 
now forming a network all over the country ; while in 
Munro's tours he 'marched every day, except when 
obliged to halt by the rising of rivers or the necessity 
of giving rest to the cattle.' 

In the autumn of 18:^:^ he made a tour which lasted 
three months, through Nellore and the Northern Cir- 
cars, i.e. from Madras to the Giimsiir Hills in Ganjam, 



2o8 



S/I^ THOMAS MUNRO 



and left on record a long and most interesting Minute 
describing his tour and his interviews with the 
zamindars (of whom he saw all but two), the Rajas 
of Vizianagram, Venkatagiri, and Kalahasti, and 
embodying in it the result of his observations and 
views, many of which have been rendered additionally 
interesting by incidents that have occurred in 
recent years in the places he visited. In 1821 he 
visited the Baramahal, ' both for the purpose of 
seeing the inhabitants and making some inquiries 
into the state of the country, and of revisiting scenes 
where above thirty years before he had spent seven 
very happy years/ 

In 1823 he made a tour through the Ceded Districts ; 
he was glad to get away from Cuddapah, with ' the 
thermometer at 94 and its dry parching wind,' but he 
adds: 'I still like this country, notwithstanding its 
heat ; it is full of industrious cultivators, and I like 
to recognize among them a great number of my old 
acquaintances, who, I hope, are as glad to see me as 
I them.' 

In 1826 Sir Thomas Munro renewed his applica- 
tion to be relieved of the governorship, and looked 
forward to the arrival of his successor early in the 
following year. Lady Munro, however, was obliged 
to leave for Europe before he could accompany her, as 
the illness of their second son, Campbell Munro, who 
had been born in September, 1823, rendered an im- 
mediate departure from India the sole chance of 
saving the child's life. Lady Munro left Madras in 



LAST TOURS AND DEATH 



209 



March, 1826, but they never met again, it being the 
fate of Sir Thomas, like that of many another Anglo- 
Indian, to be buried in the land to which he had given 
the best part of his life within a twelvemonth of the time 
when he hoped to return to the country of his birth. 

In the autumn of 1826 Sir Thomas Munro made 
a tour through the Districts of Chengalpat, South Arcot, 
Tanjore, Trichinopoli, Madura, Tinnevelli, and Coim- 
batore, and thence up to the Nllgiris. From Oota- 
camund in September he wrote to his wife a descrip- 
tion of those then little-known mountains which, 
when published in Gleig's Life, was one of the first 
accounts that appeared in print of those Hills and the 
sweet ' half-English Nllgiri air.' 

After leaving the Nilgiris, on his way to Madras 
via Bangalore, Muni-o visited the Falls of the Kaveri, 
which he thus describes ; ' They are very grand, and 
rather exceeded than fell short of my expectations. 
The fall on the southern branch of the river is about 
a mile below that on the northern which we visited 
together. It is something in the form of a horse-shoe, 
and consists of seven streams falling from the same 
level, and divided only from each other by fragments of 
the rock. There is a descent to the bed of the river by 
steps ; and when you stand there, nearly surrounded 
by cataracts covering you with small rain, and look 
at the great breadth of the whole fall, and the woody 
hills rising behind it, the scene appears very wild and 
magnificent.* 

To Munro's great disappointment a delay occurred 




2IO 



S/I^ THOMAS MUNRO 



in the appointment of his successor, and as he 
could not be relieved before October, he decided on 
paying a farewell visit to the Ceded Districts, and 
set out from Madras towards the end of May, 1827. 

A legend survives in various forms with reference 
to his journey through the Cuddapah District. One 
version is that, while riding through a narrow gorge, 
where the Papaghni breaks through the hills, Munro 
suddenly looked up at the steep cliffs above, and 
then said, ' What a beautiful garland of flowers they 
have stretched across the valley 1 ' His companions 
all looked, but said they could see nothing. * Why, 
there it is,' said he, ' all made of gold.' Again they 
looked, and saw nothing: but one of his old native ser- 
vants said, ^ Alas ! a great and good man will soon die ! ' 

After halting some time at Anantapur, the Governor 
and his party reached Gooty on July 4. Here several 
sepoys were carried off by cholera ; on the following 
morning the camp was moved, and on the 6th the party 
reached Pattikonda, in the Karnul District, twenty- 
two miles from Gooty. A few hours after their arrival. 
Sir Thomas himself was attacked with cholera; the 
symptoms were at first not alarming, and in the 
middle of the day hopes were entertained of his 
recovery. During one of his rallies he exclaimed, in 
a tone of peculiar sweetness, that it was ^almost worth 
while to be ill in order to be so kindly nursed^.' In the 

^ Among those about Sir Thomas Munro at the time of his death 
was a lad named Henry Bower, afterwards a well-known missionary 
and Tamil scholar. 



LAST TOURS AND DEATH 211 



evening he grew worse, and at about half-past nine on 
the night of July 6, 1827, calmly passed away. 

His remains were at once carried to Gooty and buried 
in the English graveyard there — a most picturesque 
spot at the foot of the great Gooty rock and fortress 
which towers above. The tomb, a flat slab with a brief 
inscription and railed in, is still carefully seen to. 
In April, 1831, his remains were removed to Madras, 
and interred just in front of the Governor's pew in St. 
Mary's Churchy Fort St. George; and close by is a mural 
tablet with a bust of Sir Thomas erected by his widow. 

The news of Munro's death was received in Madras 
with feelings of deep regret by all classes. The Go- 
vernment issued a Gazette extraordinary on July 9, 
in which occurs the following passage : ' His sound 
and vigorous understanding, his transcendent talents, 
his indefatigable application, his varied stores of 
knowledge, his attainments as an Oriental scholar, 
his intimate acquaintance with the habits and feelings 
of the native soldiers and inhabitants generally, his 
patience, temper, facility of access, and kindness of 
manner, would have ensured him distinction in any 
line of employment. These qualities were admirably 
adapted to the duties which he had to perform in 
organizing the resources, and establishing the tran- 
quillity of those provinces where his latest breath has 
been drawn, and where he had long been known by 
the appellation of the Father of the People.' 

A public meeting was without delay held in Madras, 
at which resolutions were passed expressing the 

o 2 



2JQ SIR THOMAS MUNRO 

regret of those assembled of all classes in the com- 
munity at * the calamity which has occurred in the 
death of our late revered Governor,' and ^ the pride they 
took in his fame'; that his justice^ benevolence, 
frankness, and hospitality were no less conspicuous 
than the extraordinary faculties of his mind; and 
that a subscription be opened to erect a statue to 
his memory. 

At Pattikonda Government caused a grove of trees 
to be planted and a well or tank with stone steps to 
be constructed near the spot where he died ; and at 
Gooty a similar well and a large choultry or rest-house 
for native travellers were constructed, and for several 
years food was distributed gratuitously in his honour 
at it ; within the ' Munro choultry ' is hung a copy of 
the large full-length portrait of Munro by Sir Martin 
Shee, copies of which also adorn the walls of the 
cutcherry at Bellary and other public buildings in 
the Ceded Districts, and the Revenue Board OfBce, 
Madras. 

It was not till 1839 that the equestrian statue of 
Munro by Sir Francis Chantrey arrived at Madras, 
and on October 23 of that year it was exposed to 
public view with all due ceremony, after having been 
erected in one of the most conspicuous sites in 
Madras. 

Lady Munro survived her husband twenty-three 
years, dying in 1850. Both of Sir Thomas' sons are 
still living. The eldest, the present Sir Thomas Munro, 
was formerly a captain in the loth Hussars, and is 



LAST TOURS AND DEATH %\-^ 

unmarried; the second son, Mr. Campbell Munro, 
formerly a Captain in the Grenadier Guards, has had 
nine children, the third of whom, Philip Harvey 
Munro, Lieut. E. N., born in 1866, was lost in H.M.S. 
Victoria on the 22nd June, 1893. 



APPENDIX 



MEMOEANDUM OF THE SERVICES OF 
SIR T. MUNRO, 

WRITTEN BY HIMSELF. 

[The original orthography is retained."] 

*I ARBiVED at Madras on the 15th of January, 1780, and 
did duty in the garrison of Fort St. George until the 
invasion of the Carnatic, in July, by Hyder. 

I marched on the with the grenadier company to 

which I belonged, the 21st battalion of Sepoys, and a detach- 
ment of artillery, to Poonamallee ^ ; and from thence, after 
being joined by His Majesty's 73rd regiment, to the Mounts 
where the army had been ordered to assemble. The cadet 
company having arrived in camp, I was ordered to do duty 
with it on the 20th of August, 1 780, and marched on the 26th 
of that month with the army under Lieutenant-General Sir 
Hector Munro. I continued with the army while it was 
commanded by that officer, and afterwards by Lieutenant- 
General Sir Eyre Coote and Lieutenant-General Stewart, 
during all the operations in the Carnatic, in the war with 
the Mysoreans and the French, from the commencement of 
hostilities by Hyder Ally, until the cessation of arms with 
the French, on the 2nd of July, 1783. 

I was present at the retreat of Sir Hector Munro from 
Conjeveram ^ to Madras, after the defeat of Colonel Bailie by 
Hyder Ally on the loth of September, 1780*. 

^ About thirteen miles south-west of Madras. 

2 St. Thomas's Mount, eight miles south of Madras. 

^ In South Arcot. * See p, 19. 



ai6 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



1 was with the army under Sir Eyre Coote, at the relief of 
Wandiwash \ on the 24th of January, 1781. At the can- 
nonade by Hyder Ally, on the march from Pondicherry to 
Cuddalore^ on the 7th of February, 1781. At the assault 
of Chidambaram^, i8th of June, 1781. At the battle of 
Porto Novo^, ist of July, 1781. At the siege of Tripassore^ 
22nd of August, 1 781. At the battle of Pollilore^ 27th of 
August, 1 781. At the battle of Sholinghur\ 27th of 
September, 1781. 

I was with the advanced division of the army, under 
Colonel Owen, when that officer was attacked and defeated 
by Hyder Ally, near Chittoor ^, on the 23rd of October, 1781 ; 
but the 1 6th battalion of Sepoys, to which I belonged, having 
been detached to the village of Magraul, about five miles 
distant, to collect grain, and a body of the enemy having 
thrown itself between this post and the corps under Colonel 
Owen, and rendered the junction of the battalions impractic- 
able, Captain Cox, who commanded it, made good his retreat 
to the main army by a forced march of nearly forty miles 
over the hills. 

I was present at the taking of Chittoor on the iith of 
November, 1781. On the — of November, 1781, having 
been appointed quartermaster of brigade, I joined the 5th, or 
left, brigade of the army. I was present when the army, 
on its march to relieve Vellore \ was harrassed and cannon- 
aded by Hyder Ally on the loth and 13th of January, 1782. 
I was present at the battle of Arni ^ on the 2nd of June, 
1782. At the attack of the French lines and battle of 
Cuddalore, on the 13th of June, 1783; on which occasion 
I acted as aid-de-camp to Major Cotgrave, field-officer of 
the day, who commanded the centre attack. 



^ In North Arcot. * In South Arcot. 

3 In Chengalpat District. 



APPENDIX 



I was present at the siege of Ciiddalore until the 2nd of 
July, 1783, when hostilities ceased, in consequence of accounts 
having been received of the peace with France. From this 
period I remained with a division of the army cantoned in 
the neighbourhood of Madras, until after the definitive treaty 
with Tippu Sultan, in March, 1784. 

In July, 1784, I proceeded to join my corps stationed 
at Melloor, near Madura. In January 1785, having been 
removed to the 30th battalion, I joined it at Tanjore ; and 
on its being reduced a few months after, I was appointed to 
the 1st battalion of Sepoys, in the same garrison, with which 

I did duty until 1786, when, being promoted to the 

rank of Lieutenant, I was appointed to the battalion 

European infantry ^, in garrison at Madras. 

In 1786 I was removed to the nth battalion, and joined 
it in September, at Cassimcottah, near Vizagapatam. In 
January, 1787, having been appointed to the 21st battalion, 
I joined it in the following month at Vellore. 

In August, 1788, having been appointed an assistant in 
the Intelligence Department, under Captain Read, and 
attached to the headquarters of the force destined to take 
possession of the province of Guntoor ^, ceded by the Soubah 
of the Deccan, I joined the force assembled near Ongole ^ for 
that purpose, and continued with it until, the service having 
been completed by the occupation of the forts, I proceeded 
to Ambore, a frontier station, commanded by Captain Eead, 
under whom I was employed in the Intelligence Department 
until October, 1790 ; in that month I joined the 21st bat- 
talion of Native infantry in the army under Colonel Maxwell, 
which, in consequence of the war with Tippu Sultan, invaded 
the Barmahal. 



1 The Madras European Regiment. ^ In the Kistna District. 
3 In Villore District. 



2l8 



SIR THOMAS MUNRO 



I was with the detachment sent out to cover the retreat of 
the 1st regiment of Native cavalry, which fell into an 
ambuscade near Caveripatam \ on the nth of November, 
1790. I served in the field with the main army, or with 
detachments of it, until the conclusion of the war. 

I was present in the pursuit of Tippoo by Lieutenant- 
General Meadows, through the Topoor Pass\ on the i8th of 
November, 1790. 

When the army under Lord Cornwallis entered Mysore in 
February, 1791, I was appointed to the command of a small 
bod}^ of two hundred Sepoys, called the Prize Guard, to be 
employed in securing captured property and in collecting 
cattle for the army on its march, and various other duties. 

I was stationed in the town of Bangalore during the siege 
of the fort, and was present when it was taken by storm, on 
the 2ist of March, 1791. 

I was with the army at the battle of Karigal, near 
Seringapatam, on the 15th of May, 1791. 

On the return of the army from Seringapatam to the 
neighbourhood of Bangalore, I was constantly employed on 
detachment in escorting military stores and provisions to 
camp until December, 1791, when, the army being ready to 
advance to the siege of Seringapatam, I was thrown into the 
fort of Cootradroog to cover the march of convoys from 
Bangalore to camp. 

In the following month, January 1792, I was appointed 
assistant to Captain Read, who commanded a detachment at 
Bangalore, employed in forwarding supplies to the army. 

In February, 1792, I marched with this officer and joined 
the army before Seringapatam during the negotiations for 
peace. On the settlement of the peace, in March, 1792, 
I marched with the detachment in charge of the two sons 
of Tippoo, who were to be sent as hostages to Madras. 
^ In Salem District. 



APPENDIX 



2ig 



In April, 1792, I marched with the force ordered to 
occupy the Baramahal, ceded by Tippoo to the British 
Government. 

From April, 1792, until March, 1799, I was employed in 
the civil administration of that country. 

On the breaking out of the war with Tippoo Sultan, I joined 
the army under Lieutenant-General Harris, intended for the 
siege of Seringapatam, near Royacottah^, on the 5th of 
March, 1799. Colonel Read, to whom I had been appointed 
secretary, having been detached on the nth to bring forward 
the supplies in the rear of the army, took the hill-fort of 
Shulagherry ^ by assault on the 15th, on which occasion I was 
present. The detachment, after collecting the convoys, set 
out for Seringapatam ; but owing to the labour of repairing 
the pass of Caveripuram ^5 it did not reach the army until 
the loth of May, six days after the fall of the place. 

Having been appointed by the Governor-General, Lord 
Mornington, one of the Secretaries to the Commission for the 
settlement of Mysore, I acted in that capacity until the con- 
clusion of the Partition Treaty and the installation of the 
Rajah, on the — of July, 1799. 

As I had been appointed to the charge of the civil ad- 
ministration of Canara, I entered that province in the end of 
July, and joined the force which had been previously sent to 
expel the enemy's garrisons. From July, 1799, till the end 
of October, 1 800, I remained in charge of Canara. 

In the beginning of !N"ovember, 1800, I proceeded to the 
Ceded Districts, to the civil administration of which I had 
been appointed in the preceding month. I continued in 
charge of the Ceded Districts until the 23rd of October, 1807, 
when I sailed for England, having then been employed, without 
iDterruption, during a period of twenty- eight years in India. 

I remained in England from April, 1808, till May, 1814, 
^ In Salem District. ^ In Coimbatore. 



^20 



6-//^ THOMAS MUNRO 



when I embarked for India, and reached Madras on the i6th 
of September, 1814. 

From September, 181 4, till July, 181 7, I was employed 
as Principal Commissioner for the revision of the internal 
administration in the Madras territories. 

When preparations were made for taking the field against 
the Pindarries I was appointed to the command of the reserve 
of the army, under Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Hislop. 
The reserve was, in July 181 7, ordered to advance and take 
possession of Dharwar, which the Peishwah had ceded to the 
British Government by the Treaty of Poonah. I reached 
Dharwar on the i oth of August, three days after it had been 
given up to the advanced battalion of the reserve. I remained 
at Dharwar until the iith of October, engaged in arranging 
with Mahratta Commissioners the limits of the districts 
which had been ceded by the Peishwah. On the 12th of 
October I commenced my march for Sundoor, a district held 
by a refractory Mahratta chief, whom I was ordered to 
dispossess and deliver it up to the officers of the Peishwah. 

On the — of October I arrived at Sundoor, which the 
chief surrendered without opposition. On the 7th of 
November, 1817, having repassed the Toombuddra, I directed 
the reserve, in pursuance of orders from headquarters, to 
take up a position beyond the Kistna, under Brigadier- 
General Pritzler, and proceeded myself to Dharwar to finish 
the political arrangements with the Mahratta Commissioners. 

On the 1 4th of November arrive at Dharwar ; learn that 
the Peishwah has commenced hostilities, and, finding that my 
rejoining the reserve was rendered impracticable by the 
interposition of the enemy's troops, determine to endeavour 
to subdue the neighbouring districts by the influence of 
a party among the leading inhabitants, and by the aid of 
a detachment from the garrison of Dharwar, assisted by 
a body of irregulars collected from the country. 



APPENDIX 



221 



On the — of December, 1817, disperse a body of the 
enemy's horse, joined by the garrison of Nawlgoond, and 
take possession of the forts evacuated by the enemy on our 
approach. On the — of January, 18 18, having been joined 
by a small battering- train from Bellary, lay siege to Guddur, 
which surrenders on the — of January. On the — of 
January take the fort of Dumbull. On the — of January 
the fort of Hoobli, and on the day following its dependent 
fort of Misriekottah is given up to a detachment sent to 
occupy it. On the — of February, 1818, pass the Malpurbah ; 
and after routing a body of the enemy's horse and foot near 

the village of , encamped near Badami. On the 17th of 

February, a practicable breach having been made, storm and 
carry the place. On the 2isfc of February take Bagricottah. 
On the I oth of February take Padshapoor. 

On the 2ist of March encamp before Belgaum; and, after 
a siege of twenty days, take the place by capitulation on the 
I oth of April. On the i6th of April, Kalla Nundilghur is 
given up to a detachment of irregulars which I sent to 
invest it. On the 22nd of April rejoin the reserve. 

On the I oth of May take the pettah of Sholapur by 
assault. Defeat the Peishwah's infantry under Gunput Row 
at the battle of Sholapur. 15th of May, take the fort of 
Sholapur by capitulation after a practicable breach had been 
made. 31st of May, encamp before Nepauni and compel 
Appah Dessay to give orders for the delivery of Wokarah and 
other places to the Rajah of Bolapoor. 

On the 8th of August, 18 18, having received the surrender 
of Paurghur, the last fort held for the Peishwah, resign my 
command, after having, in the course of the campaign, reduced 
all the Peishwah's territories between the Toombuddra and 
Kistna, and from the Kistna northward to Akloos, on the 
Neemah, and eastward to the Nizam's frontier.* 



INDEX 



Abyssinian, Sidi, or Hubshi 
village ill Kanara, 1 08. 

Adam, John, Malcolm*s letter to, 
in praise of Munro, 165, 166: 
left enough troops for the Bur- 
mese war, 200. 

Ahmadnagar, capture of, by 
Arthur Wellesley, 121. 

Allen, Captain, letter of Munro 
to, quoted, 65, 66. 

Ambur, taken by Haidar All, 2 1 : 
Munro stationed at, 33, 44, 217. 

Amherst, William Pitt, Lord, 
Governor-General, declares war 
with Burma, 194: asks Munro's 
advice, 195 : describes terms of 
peace offered, 196 : praised by 
Munro, 202 : officially thanks 
Munro, 205. 

Anderson, Dr., Munro's opinion 
of, 149. 

Anson's Voyages, favourite book 
of Munro, 12. 

Arbuthnot, Sir Alexander J., Sir 
Thomas Munro, with Selections 
from his Minutes, <!j'c., 8 1 quoted, 
62, 86, 89, 90, 160, 190. 

Arcot, besieged by Haidar All, 
18. 

Army, the Madras, European 
soldiers hamper, 44 : needs to 
be strengthened with cavalry, 
72, 73: more Europeans wanted 
after the Mar^tha war, 133 : 
its services in first Burmese 
war, 199. 



ARNf, Munro present at battle of, 
216. 

Artillery, excellence of Coote*s, 

at Porto Novo, 25. 
AsiEGARH, taken by Stevenson, 

128, 129. 
Assam, overrun by the Burmese, 

194 : to be relinquished by them, 

196. 

Assaye, battle of, 121 : criticized 
by Munro, 122, 123 : described 
by Arthur Wellesley, 123-129: 
further criticized by Munro, 
129-132. 

Astronomy, Munro studies, 16. 

Badami, Munro takes, 166. 

Baillie, Colonel, Munro attempts 
to join his detachment, 16: his 
defeat, 18, 19. 

Bamboos, number of, in Kanara,97. 

Bangalore, Munro present at 
siege of (1791), 48, 218; re- 
duced forts near (1799), 83. 

Baramahal, the, ceded by Tipii 
to the Company (1792), 55, 61 : 
Munro appointed to, 61 : de- 
scribed, 62-64: Munro's ad- 
ministration of, 64-66 : life in, 
75-77 : his sorrow at leaving, 
87 : his visit to, as Governor, 208. 

Baronetcy conferred on Munro, 
204. 

Bassein, treaty of (1802), 121. 
Bath, Order of the : Munro made 
C.B. and K.C.B., 177. 



224 



INDEX 



Battles: Assaye, i 21-132 : Chi- 
lambaram, 22-24: Cuddalore, 
28,29: Kanga1,48: Mehidpur, 
169 : Perambtikam, 19 : Porto 
Novo, 25-28: Satyamangalaiii, 
48, 49. 

BelgIum, Munro besieges and 
takes, 166, 167, 221. 

Bellary, one of the Ceded Dis- 
tricts, 112: portrait of Munro 
in, 212. 

Bellecombe, M., favourable 
opinion of Coote's artillery, 
25. 

B en TIN CK, Lord William, Governor 
of Madras, letter to Munro on 
the mutiny at Vellore, 135, 
136: Munro's reply, 136-138. 

BerIr, ceded to the Nizam, 133. 

Bhonsla, the, R^j^ of N^gpur, 
Arthur VVellesley moves against, 
129: cedes Orissa to the Com- 
pany and Berar to the Niz^m, 
133. 

Birds, the, in Kanara, 103. 
BiSTNAPA Pandit commended to 

Munro by Arthur Wellesley, 

129. 

BlacJc Divarf, TJiCy Scott's novel, 
Munro's opinion of, 168. 

Bombay, Munro visits, 178. 

Bower, Henry, present at Munro's 
death, 210 n. 

Braithwaite, Daniel, contributes 
Munro's story of Shylock from 
the Persian to Malone's Shahe- 
speare^ 30. 

Burmese War, the first, causes of, 
194: Munro's assistance in, 
195, 199 : views on the conduct 
of, 196-199, 201 : on the peace 
which terminated, 202-204. 

Butter, difficulty in procuring, in 
Kanara, 94, 95. 

Campbell, General Sir Archibald, 
his operations in Burma, 197, 
198, 202. 

Campbell, General Dugald, sup- 
presses the poligars in the Ceded 
Districts, 1 1 3. 



Campbell, Jane, marries Sir T. 
Munro, 154. 

Campbell, Itichard, of Craigie, 
father-in-law of Munro, 154. 

Canning, Charles John, Earl, 
Viceroy, opposes restoration of 
Mysore, 86. 

Canning, Right Honourable 
George, praises Munro in the 
*House of Commons, 174, 175 : 
suggests him for a Governorship, 
^75» 176- speech on Munro's 
appointment to Madras, 177, 
178: Munro's regret at his 
resignation, 180. 

Canning, Captain Henry, plan of 
campaign against the Burmese, 
196, 197. 

Cattle, the black, of Kanara, 102. 

Cavalry, need of, in the Madras 
Army, 72, 73. 

Ceded Districts, Munro appointed 
Collector of the, 112 : life in, 
113, 114: settlement of, 118, 
119: deals with drought and 
famine in, 120: revisits as 
Governor, 208 : farewell visit 

to, 2X0. 

Chantrey, Sir Francis, his statue 

of Munro at Madras, 5, 212. 
Charter, East India Company's, 

Munro's views on the renewal 

of (1813), 145-149- 
Chemistry, Mum-o's taste for, 11, 

144. 

Chilambaram, Coote's repulse at, 
22-24: Munro present, 216. 

Chittur, Munro at capture of, 
216. 

Clarke, Sir William, meets Munro 

in Kanara, 106. 
Clive, Edward, Lord, Governor 

of Madras, appoints Munro to 

the Ceded Districts, 112. 
CocKBURN, William, insists on 

Munro's stopping in Kanara, 

88, 89. 

CoiMBATORE, according to Munro, 
ought to have been taken by 
Tipii in 1792, 56* visited by 
Munro in 1826, 209. 



INDEX 



225 



CoLEBROOKE, Sir T. E., Life of 
Elphinstone^ quoted, 178, 191, 
192. 

Collectors op Districts, Munro's 
views on the position and pi - 
ment of, 67-69 : made Magis- 
trates by his Regulations, 159. 

Constantinople, Tipii pends an 
embassy to, 82. 

Coote, General Sir Eyre, his 
campaign against Haidar All, 
21, 22: repulsed at Chilambaram, 
22-24 • victory at Porto Novo, 
25-29 : Munro's services under, 
215, 216. 

CoRNWALLis, Charles, Marquess, 
Governor-General, ordered to 
take the Guntiir Circ^r, 31 : 
earnestly expected at Madras, 
47, 48 : his preliminaries of 
peace with Tipii, 53-55: did 
not want to take Seringapatam, 
57 : Munro's opinion of, 59. 

Cotgeave, Major, Munro aide-de- 
camp to, at battle of Cuddalore, 
216. 

Cotton, Munro's interest in the 
cultivation of, in India, 146, 
171. 

Cox, Captain, successful retreat 
of, 216. 

Cranganore sold to Travancore 
by the Dutch, 43. 

Cuddalore, battle of, 28, 29 : 
Munro present at, 216. 

Cdddapah, ballads on Munro 
sung in, 7 : one of the Ceded 
Districts, 112: bad condition, 
112, 113: damaged by floods 
(1802), 120: revisited by Munro 
as Governor, 208 : legend of his 
last journey in, 210. 

Citddapah District Manual^ 
quoted, 118, 119. 

CuMMiNG, Mr. A., Munro com- 
plains of opposition to his reforms 
to, 155. 

CUPPAGE, Colonel, Munro visits, 
120. 

Dalhousie, James, Marquess of. 



Governor-General, would Munro 
have supported his policy, 86. 

Damal, Munro takes, 164. 

Deafness, Munro's, 11 : allusions 
to, 92, 144. 

Dharmapuri, t^luk in the B^- 
rj^ nahal, 62 : Munro's garden 
at, 64 : description of his life 
at. ^75, 76. 

Dharwar, Munro's headq'uarters 
in the Southern Mar^tha coun- 
try, 162, 220. 

Dhundia Wage, Arthur Welles- 
ley's defeat of, 86. 

Diary, official, Munro's objections 
t^ keeping an, 120. 

DiNDiGAL, ceded by Tipii (1792), 
61 

^ on Quixote, Munro learns Spanish 
to read. 12 : allusion to, 91. 

DouGuAS, J., Bombay, quoted, 
122 n, 

DuNDAS, Right Hon. Henry, Wel- 
lesley's letter to, on the state 
of India, 82, 83. 

Edinburgh, Munro spends part of 
his furlough in, 144. 

Edington, Colonel, occupies the 
Guntilr Circ^r, 31. 

Education, Munro's encourage- 
ment of, in Madras, 192, 193. 

Eldon, John, Earl of, present at 
banquet to Munro. 177. 

Elliot, Right Hon. Hugh, 
Governor of Madras, takes up 
office, 154: opposes Munro's 
reforms, 155: pushes him out 
of office, 1 70 : is succeeded by 
him, 177. 

Elphinstone, Hon. Mount- 
stuart, quoted on Munro's 
character, 6, 178: appointed 
Governor of Bombay, 176: 
visited by Munro, 178: his 
opinion on the increased em- 
ployment of natives, 191, 192. 

European troops, Munro depre- 
cates too many, 44, 45 : but 
advises more after the Marath^ 
war, 133. 



P 



226 



INDEX 



Falls of the Kaveri, Munro's 

description of the, 209. 
Ferguson, R., Astronomy ^ Munro 

studies, 16. 
'Fifth Report, The,* 153. 
FiNLAY, Mr., letters of Munro to, 

149-152, 171-173- 
Floyd, General Sir John, at 

Satyamangalara, 49, 60. 
Flushing, Munro at siege of 

(1809), 144. 
Fort St. George, Munro stationed 

at, 29 : buried in, 211. 
FouLis, Mr., Munro's letter to, on 

the French Revolution, 33-35. 
Frederick the Great, Munro 

studies the Life of, 13. 
Free-trade, Munro in favour of, 

149-152. 
French, the, assist Haidar All, 

18 : defeated at Porto Novo, 

25-27 : at Cuddalore, 28 : peace 

with, 29 : Munro's opinion on 

the Revolution and its probable 

results, 33-35 : raise volunteers 

to aid Tipii, 83. 

Gadak, Munro takes, 164. 
Gillespie, Colonel R. R., puts 
down the mutiny at Vellore, 

134. 138- 

Glasgow, Munro bom at, 11 : 
educated at, 11 : a clerk at, 
13: revisits, 144: loyal to, 
149: * still Glasgow ware,' 150. 

Glasgow University, Munro 
educated at, 11. 

Gleig, Rev. G. R., Life of Sir 
Thomas MunrOy 8: quoted or 
referred to, 13 50, 65, 89, 
114, 146, 209. 

GooTY, Munro still remembered 
at, 7 : his escort attacked with 
cholera at, 210: first buried at, 
211 : memorials to him at, 212. 

Governor-Generalship of India, 
Munro would not have accepted, 
205. 

Grant-Duff, Captain James, 
Sistory of the Mahrattas, 
quoted, 165 n. 



Grenville, William, Lord, views 
on the renewal of the East 
India Company's Charter, 145. 

Gribble, J. B. B., Cuddapah 
District Manual, quoted, 118, 
119. 

GuMSUR Hills, Munro visits the, 
207. 

GuNTUR CiRCAR, Munro present 
at the occupation of, 30, 217 : his 
opinion of the transaction, 30-33. 

GURRAMKONDA POLIGARS, the, and 

Tipii's family, 136. 
Guy Manneringy Scott's novel, 
Munro's opinion of, 168. 

Haidar Ahi besieges Arcot, 18: 
defeats Baillie, 18, 19; raises 
siege of Vellore, 21 : takes 
Ambiir and Thiagur, 21 : de- 
feated at Porto Novo, 26, 27 : 
death of, 28. 

Harris, General George, com- 
mands in second war against 
Tipii, 83. 

Hastings, Francis, Marquess of, 
Governor-General, Munro offers 
his services to, 161 : Malcolm's 
testimony to, 166. 

Hastings, Warren, keeps the 
Nizam and Marathas from 
joining Haidar All, 18. 

Henderson, Captain, Munro stops 
at his house on arriving at 
Madras, 14. 

Hindustani, Munro studies, 29. 

History, Munro's taste for, 11 : 
remarks on the study of, 78. 

Holkar, troops of, defeated at 
Mehidpur, 169. 

Hope, General Sir John, Munro 
accompanied to siege of Flushing, 
144. 

HosuR, t^luk in the Bar^mahal, 

annexed in 1799, 62. 
HuBLi, Munro takes, 164. 
Hughes, Admiral Sir E., brings 

battering guns to Porto Novo, 

24. 

Hume, David, JETts/ory of England^ 
studied by Munro, 12. 



INDEX 



India, Munro's and Arthur 
Wellesley's correspondence on 
the extension of British power 
in, 85. 

Jarvie, Bailie Nicol, Munro's 
delight in, 172. 

Kanaka, annexed in 1799, 87: 
Munro appointed to charge of, 
87: his dislike of, 88: description 
of a tour in, 90-1 10 : his work 
in, officially commended, 112. 

Karigal, battle of, Munro present 
at, 48, 218. 

Karwar, Munro^s account of, 91. 

Kasimkota, Munro stationed at, 
29,217. 

Kelvin, river, Munro fishes in as 
a boy, 12 : fondness for and 
allusions to, 95, 168. 

Kennaway, Sir John, demands 
surrender of the Gunttir Circ^r 
from the Niz^m, 31 : carries on 
the negotiations with Tipi5, 55. 

KoENiG, Dr., at Madras with 
Munro, 15. 

Krishnagiri, a t^luk of the B^- 
r^mahal, 62 : Munro*s memory 
cherished in, 64. 

Lake, General Gerard, Lord, cam- 
paign against Sindhia, 121. 

Lally-Tollendal, Comte de, 
joins Haidar All, 18 : defeated 
with him at Porto Novo, 2 7. 

Lang, Colonel, defended Vellore, 
20, 21. 

Le Fanu, W. J. H., Balem 
District Manual quoted on the 
scenery of the B^rdlmahal, 63. 

Leven Lodge, purchased by 
Munro for his parents, 142. 

London, Munro in favour of re- 
stricting trade with India to, 
147-149. 

Macartney, George, Lord, Gover- 
nor of Madras, 42. 

Macartney, John, Agent at San- 
diir, 163 n. 

P 2 



Macpherson, Sir John, Governor- 
General, attempts to obtain the 
Guntur Circ^Lr, 30. 
Madras, Munro*s first arrival at, 
13: early life at, 14-16: returns 
to, as President of the Judicial 
Commission, 1 54: social customs, 
1 54 : returns again as Governor, 
178 : buried at, 211 : statue at, 
212. 

Madras School Book Society, 

Munro gives grant to, 193. 
Madura, Munro stationed at, 29 : 

visits on tour (1826), 209. 
Malabar, District of, ceded by 

Tipu (1792), 61. 
MALCOLM,Major-General Sir John, 
joint-secretary with Munro to 
Commission for settling Mysore 
(1799), 83 : praises Munro*s 
campaign in the South Mar^th^i 
country, 165, 166 : his battle 
of Mehidpur criticized by 
Munro, 169 : Munro's letter 
to, complaining of his treat- 
ment, 169, 170: suggested by 
Canning for a Governorship, 
176. 

Malleson, Colonel G. B., Final 
French Struggles in India, 
quoted, 29 n. 
M alone, Edmund, published 
Munro's Persian story of 
Shy lock in his Shakespeare, 
29, 30- 

Manipur, disaster in, referred to, 
114: independence from Burma 
to be assured, 1 96 : route by, for 
invading Burma recommended 
by Munro, 198. 
MarathAs kept from joining 
Haidar All (1780), 18: form 
alliance against Tipii, 43 : be- 
lieved by Munro to be less 
formidable than Tipii, 46, 50, 
74: their services in the war 
against Tipii (1792), 59: war 
with (1802-3), 121: campaign 
of Assaye, 1 22-1 33 : treaty with, 
133: Munro's operations against, 
in the last war, 164-168 : his 



INDEX 



opinion of their government, 
172 : comparison between them 
and Kob Koy, 172, 173. 

Masulipatam, Munro's Minute 
on a caste riot at, 1 85-1 89. 

Mathematics, Munro's taste for, 
II. 

Mathews, Brig.-General Kichard, 
draws off Tipii to Malabar, 28. 

Maxwell, Colonel, Munro served 
under, in first war against Tipii, 
217. 

Medows, General Sir William, 

50: Munro served under, 218. 
Mehidpur, battle of, 169. 
Minutes, Munro' s, as Governor of 

Madras, subjects of, I90: valued 

by Elphinstone, 192. 
Mir Sahib, Haidar All's general, 

22, 24. 

Moore, General Sir John, a boy- 
hood's companion of Munro, 13. 

Moorhouse, Captain, his conduct 
at Chilambaram, 23. 

Muhammad Ali, general of Haidar 
All, besieged Vellore, 20, 21. 

Munro, Alexander, father of the 
Governor, 11 : gets his son a 
cadetship, 1 3 : falls into poverty, 
41 : becomes infirm, 144. 

Munro, Alexander, brother of the 
Governor, in India with him, 

37, 41, 42. 

Munro, Campbell, younger son of 
the Governor, his birth, 208 : 
family, 213. 

Munro, General Sir Hector, 
quarrels with Rumbold, 18 : 
advances to meet Haidar Ali, 
18 : commands first line at 
battle of Porto Novo, 26 : 
Munro serves under, 215. 

Munro, Jane, Lady, wife of the 
Governor, marriage, 1 54 : elder 
son born, 174: leaves Madras, 
208 ; erects monument to Munro, 
211: survives her husband many 
years, 212. 

Munro, Margaret, mother of the 
Governor, ii : her death, 143. 

Munro, Philip Harvey, grandson 



of the Governor, lost in H.M.S. 
Victoriay 213. 
MuNRO,Major-G eneral SirThomas, 
his memory still cherished in 
Madras, 7 : authorities on his 
life, 8 : family, 1 1 ; education, 
II, 12: receives a cadetship, £3: 
arrives in Madras, 1 3 : early 
experiences, 14-16: periods of 
his life, 17: his journal-letters, 
19 : his description of defence 
of Vellore, 20, 21 : of repulse at 
Chilambaram, 2 2-24 : of battle of 
Porto Novo, 25-28 : present at 
battle of Cuddalore, 28: interval 
of peace, 29 : translates Persian 
story of Shy lock, 29, 30 : assist- 
ant in the Intelligence Depart- 
ment, 30 : his account of the 
occupation of the Guntiir Circ^r, 
30-33 : letter on the French 
Revolution, 33-35 : daily life in 
India at this time, 35-40 : assists 
his father, 41, 42 : his opinion 
on the first war against Tipii, 
44-47 : services in the war, 48 : 
his criticisms on the conduct of 
the war and the terms of peace, 
48-60 : appointed Assistant- 
Collector in the Bar^mahal, 61 : 
still remembered there, 64 : 
introduces rayatwjCri system, 64, 
65 • by sheer hard work, 66 : 
remarks on the position and pay 
of Collectors, 6 7-69 : on the land- 
administration, 69-72 : on the 
army, 72-74 : on troublesome 
guests, 75, 76 : his simplicity of 
life, 77 : love of history, 78 : 
opposed to the training of the 
troops of native princes, 78, 79 : 
desired entire overthrow of Tipii, 
80 : ease with which India could 
be conquered, 80, 81 : served in 
second war against Tipt5, 83 : 
joint-secretary to the Commission 
for settling his dominions, 83 : 
opinion on the arrangements 
made, 84: makes friends with 
Arthur Wellesley, 85 : would 
have opposed restoration of 



INDEX 



2,2g 



Mysore to its Raja, 86 : ap- 
pointed to the charge of K^iiara, 
87 : disliked Kanara, 88 : pro- 
moted Major, 89 : note on the 
defence of Malabar, 89, 90 : 
description of a tour in Kanara, 
90-110: appointed Collector of 
the Ceded Districts, 112: hard 
work, 113, 114: opposed to 
guards for civil officers, 114- 
118: village and five-years' settle- 
ment, 118, 119: dislike of official 
diaries, 119, 120 : sent supplies 
to Arthur Wellesley in campaign 
against the Marathas, 121 : 
criticizes the campaign of Assaye, 
122, 123, 129-133: letter on the 
Yellore conspiracy, 1 36-1 38 : de- 
scription of the Vellore mutiny, 
138-140: resigns his Collector- 
ship, 141 : returns to England 
(1808), 143 : at siege of Flush- 
ing, 144 : gives evidence before 
the House of Commons, 146 : 
Minute on India, 146-149 : free- 
trade views, 149-152 : returns 
to Madras as President of the 
Judicial Commission, 154: mar- 
riage, 154 : opposition to his 
schemes, 155 : his remarks on 
the judicial administration, 
156-159: his Regulations, 159, 
160 : desires to serve in the 
Pind^ri war, 161 : appointed 
Commissioner in the Southern 
Marath^ country, 162 : views 
on the subsidiary system, 163 : 
reduces the Chief of Sandiir, 
163, 164 : Brigadier-General, 
164 : his campaign against the 
Mar^th^is, 164, 165: lauded 
by Malcolm, 165, 166, and 
by Canning, 174, 175 : takes 
Bad^mi, Belgium, and Shol^pur, 
166, 167: resigns his command, 
168 : complains of weariness, 
partial blindness, and unfair 
treatment, 169-171: the Mara- 
thas 'imperial thieves,' 172 : 
returns to England (1819), 1 74 : 
suggested for an Indian Gover- 



norship, 176: promoted Major- 
General,made K.C.B. and Gover- 
nor of Madras, 177: reaches 
Madras (1820), 178: objects to 
innovations, 179: advocates the 
larger employment of natives, 
180-182, 190, 191 : opposed to 
officials attempting to prosely- 
tize, 183-185 : Minute on a 
caste-riot, 1 8 5- 1 89 : his Minutes, 
189, 190 : encouragement of 
education, 192, 193: asks to be 
relieved, 194, 208: advice asked 
by Amherst on the Burmese 
war, 195 : his assistance in the 
Burmese war, 195, 196, 199: 
letters on it to Mr. Sulivan, 
196-201 : to the Duke of 
Wellington, 201-204 • created 
a baronet, 204: did not wish 
to be Governor-General, 205: 
thanked by Amherst and the 
Directors, 205, 206 : his tours 
as Governor, 207-210: attacked 
by cholera, 210: death, 211: 
sorrow expressed at his death, 
211, 212: memorials erected to, 
212: family, 212,213: summary 
of services by himself, 215- 
221. 

MuNRO, Sir Thomas, elder son of 
the Governor, his birth, 174: 
succeeded as second baronet, 
212. 

MuNROLAPPA, name given to boys 
in Madras after the Governor, 7. 

MusGRAVE, Colonel, action in the 
first war against Tipii, 47. 

Mutiny at Vellore, the (1806), 
134: Bentinck's letter to Munro 
upon, 135, 136 : Munro's reply, 
136-138: his description, 138- 
I40: alludes to, 184. 

Mysore, Munro would have been 
against restoring it to the 'Ri.jd, 
84, 86. See Haidar All, Tipii 
Sultan. 

Nairs, the, suppressed by Tipii, 
43 : their probable behaviour on 
an invasion of Malabar, 90. 



230 



INDEX 



Napier, John, friend of Munro, 
37, 42. 

National spirit, absence of, in 
India, 80, 81, 85. 

Natives of India, larger employ- 
ment of, in the public service 
advocated by Munro, 180-182, 
190, 191 : by Elphinstone, 191, 
192. 

Nbllore, Munro visits, as Gover- 
nor, 207. 

Newall, Colonel J. F., Munro's 
advice to, not to commence 
innovations, 179. 

Nilgiri Hills, Munro visits and 
describes, 209. 

Nizam, the, kept from joining 
Haidar All in 1780, 18: forced 
to surrender the Guntiir Circar, 
31-33: joins the alliance against 
Tipii in first war (1790), 43 : 
his troops placed under Arthur 
Wellesley in second war (1799), 
83 : cedes the Districts given 
him from Tipus dominions to 
the Company, 111,112: receives 
Berar from the Bhonsla, 1 33. 

Nomadic hill cultivation in K^nara 
described by Munro, 98. 

Northern Circars, occupation of, 
completed by cession of Guntur, 
30 : Munro' s tour in, when 
Governor, 207, 208. 

Oakelet, Sir Charles, Governor of 
Madras, ordered that no man 
ignorant of native languages 
should be made a Collector, 67. 

Old Mortality^ Scott's novel, 
Munro's opinion of, 168. 

Omalpur, Munro still remembered 
in, 64. 

Orissa ceded to the Company by 

the Bhonsla, 133. 
Owen, Colonel, defeat of, near 

Chittiir, 216. 

* Panchayats,* Munro wishes to 
revive the, 153: legalized but 
not successful, 160. 



Parasu Ri.M Bhao, general com- 
manding the Mar^th^s in the 
first war against Tipii, 53. 

Pattikonda, Munro dies at, 210 : 
memorial to him at, 212. 

Pegu, Munro advocates indepen- 
dent state of, instead of annexa- 
tion, 202-204. 

Pepper country, K^nara the, 97: 
pepper gardens described, 109, 
no. 

PerambIkam, defeat of Baillie at, 
19. 

Persian, Munro studies, 29 : 
translates Persian story of 
Shylock, 29, 30. 

Peshwa, the, signs treaty of 
Poona, 162 : Sanddr reduced 
for, 163 : Munro defeats his 
troops in the South Mar^th^ 
country, 164-166 : surrenders 
after the fall of ShoUpur, 167. 

Pindaris, the, 161. 

Plutarch, Ijives, Munro reads, 
12. 

Police, Munro advocates that they 
should be under the Collector 
not the Judge, 153,156: transfer 
accomplished by his Regula- 
tions, 159 : now a separate force, 
160. 

POLIGARS, the, in the Ceded 
Districts, 112: their settlement, 
113: the Gurramkonda not 
likely to join Tipti's family, 136, 
137. 

PoLLiLUR, battle of, Munro present 
at, 216. 

Poona, treaty of, 162. 

Porto Novo, Coote encamps at, 
24 : battle of, 25-28 : Munro 
present at, 216. 

Pritzler, Major-General T., 
Munro joins after taking Bel- 
gaum, 167. 

Prize Guard, the, body of Sepoys 
commanded by Munro in the 
first war against Tipti, 48, 218. 

Rangoon, the army shut up in, in 
first Burmese war, 197. 



INDEX 



231 



Rayakota, Munro still remem- 
bered in, 64. 

Ratat's fbiend, Mumro known ajs 
the, 64. 

RAYATwiBf Settlement in the 
B^^mahal described, 65 : steps 
taken towards, in the Ceded 
Districts, 118. 

Read, Colonel, Munro assistant 
to, in the Intelligence Depart- 
ment, 30, 217: Superintendent 
of Revenue in the Bar^mahal, 
61 : his resignation, 87 : Munro's 
letter to, on his work in the 
Ceded Districts, 113,114: Munro 
secretary to, in 1791, 219. 

Regulations, Munro *s new, 159, 
160, 180. 

Religion, Munro's opposition to 
officials pushing the Christian, 
183-185 : ' or an interference 
with the native, 185-189. 

Robinson, Rev. W., speaks of the 
recollection of Munro in Salem, 
7- 

Rob Roy compared to the Mar^th^ 

freebooters, 172, 173. 
Ross, Mr., Munro stops with, on 

his arrival at Madras, 16. 
RuMBOLD, Sir Thomas, Governor 

of Madras, quarrels with Sir 

Hector Munro, 18. 

Saint Helena, Munro visits, 
174. 

Salem, Munro s memory cherished 
in, 7, 64 : the B^ramahal now 
part of, 61. 

Salem District Manual, quoted, 

63., 

Sandub, the Chief of, submits to 

Munro, 163, 164, 220. 
SANKABiDBUG,Munro remembered 

in, '64. 

Satyamangalam, Munro's re- 
marks on the battle of, 48, 49. 

Scheldt, expedition to the (1809), 
Munro present in the, 144. 

Scott, Sir Walter, novels of, 
quoted and criticized by Munro, 
168, 169, 172. 



Sepoys, Munro's confidence in, 
44: doubtful fidelity of, 133, 
134: mutiny at Vellore, 134: 
Munro's comments, 137-140. 

Sebingapatam, siege of (1792), 
4S, 53 Cornwallis did not want 
to take, 57: capture of (1799), 
83 : Munro not present, 219. 

SETTLEMENTS,rayatw^rl, described, 
65 : annual, called by Munro 
* barbarous,' 71 : village and 
then five-years made in the 
Ceded Districts, 118. 

Sewell, R., published memoran- 
dum of Munro on the poligars 
in the Ceded Districts, 113 n. 

Shahpubi, island taken by the 
Burmese, 194. 

Shakespeabe, Munro's fondness 
for, 1 2 : contributes a Persian 
story of Shylock to Malone's 
edition, 29, 30 : quotes or 
alludes to, 59, 107. 

Shee, Sir Martin Archer, paints 
portrait of Munro, 212. 

Sholapub, taken by Munro, 167, 
221. 

Sholinghab, battle of, Munro 
present at, 216. 

Shylock, Persian version of, trans- 
lated by Munro, 29, 30. 

SiDOUT, Munro's visit to, 120. 

Sieges : Arcot, 18 : Bangalore, 48 : 
Belgium, 165, 166, 221 : Flush- 
ing, 144: Seringapatam (1792) 
48, (1799) 83: ShoUpur, 167: 
Thiagur, 21, 22 : Vellore, 20, 
21. 

SiLK-TBADE OF India, Munro's 

views on, 146, 147. 
SiNDHiA, Daulat R^o, defeated at 

Assay e, 121 : peace with, 133. 
Smith, Adam, Wealth of Nations, 

Munro reads, 12 : believes in, 

150. 

SOMEBVILLE AND GoBDON, McssrS,, 

Munro clerk in the office of, 13, 
150. 

Spanish, Munro learns, 12. 
Spenseb, Edmund, Munro fond of 
his poems, 1 2. 



232 



INDEX 



Stark, Dr., anatomist, Munro's 
uncle, II. 

Stevenson, Colonel, detachment 
of, by Arthur Wellesley before 
Assaye criticized by Munro, 122, 
123 : defended by Wellesley, 
124, 125: takes Aslrgarh, 128, 
129. 

Stratton, Mr., member of Munro's 
Judicial Commission, 158. 

Stuart, Colonel James, prepares 
to retreat from Palgh^t, 49. 

Stuart, General Jam es, commands 
second line at battle of Porto 
Novo, 26, 27: defeats Bussy at 
Cuddalore, 28 : Munro's services 
under, 215. 

Subsidiary system, Munro's argu- 
ments against the, 163. 

Sugar-trade op India, Munro's 
views on, 147. 

SuLiVAN, Right Hon. Lawrence, 
Munro's letters to, 155, 196- 
201. 

Tanjore, Munro stationed at, 29 : 
visits as Governor, 209. 

Tenasserim, Munro opposed to 
annexation of, 202, 203. 

Thackeray, William, assistant to 
Munro in the Ceded Districts, 
113: his conduct at Tornikul, 
117. 

Thiagur, taken by Haidar AH, 
21. 

Tinnevelli visited by Munro as 
Governor, 209. 

TiPU Sultan, accession of, 28 : 
peace made with, 29 : causes of 
first war with, 43 : Munro's 
opinion of his power, 45, 46 : of 
his military capacity, 46, 47 : 
defeated at Satyamangalam, 49 : 
lost his courage, 52 : Munro 
criticizes the peace with, 53-57 : 
might have won but for Corn- 
wallis, 60 : his intrigues, 82 : 
defeated and killed, 83 : his 
family cause mutiny at Vellore, 
135, 136. 

TiRUPATUR, t^luk of the B^r^- 



mahal, 62 : described by Munro, 
63, 64. 

TiRUVADi, taken by Coote, 23. 

ToPUR Pass, memory of Munro 
preserved at, 64 : he first met 
Arthur Wellesley at, 85 

Tornikul, disturbance at, com- 
mented on by Munro, 116, 117- 

Travancore, Tipii invades, 43 : 
Newall appointed Resident at, 
179. 

Trichinopoli, visited by Munro 

as Governor, 209. 
Tripasur, Munro present at siege 

of, 216. 

Utankarai, t^luk of the B^r^ 
mahal, 62. 

Vellore, Lang's defence of, 20, 
21 : siege raised, 21 : Munro 
stationed at, 29 : house at, 38 : 
life at, 39, 40 : fondness for, 40 : 
army for second war against 
Tipii assembled at, 83 : mutiny 
at (1806), 134: Bentinck's letter 
upon, 135, 136 : Munro's reply, 
136-138 : his description of, 
138-140: served at the relief 
of, 216. 

Versailles, treaty of, 29. 

Victoria, H.M.S., grandson of 
Munro lost in, 213. 

Walpole, Munro works his passage 
to India in the, 13. 

Wandiwash, fortifications de- 
stroyed, 28 : Munro served at 
the relief of, 216. 

Wellesley, Arthur, Duke of 
Wellington, commanded Ni- 
zam's troops in second war with 
Tipii, 83 : made friends with 
Munro, 85, 86 : corresponded 
with, on the extension of British 
power in India, 89 : takes 
Ahmadnagar and wins battle 
of Assaye, 121 : describes the 
campaign to Munro, 123-129: 



INDEX 



233 



present at the banquet to Munro 
on his being made Governor of 
Madras, 177: Munro expresses 
his wish to resign to, 194 : 
describes Burmese war to, 201- 
204. 

Wellesley, Richard, Marquess, 
Governor-General, his despatch 
on the position of affairs in 
India, 83, 83: appoints Munro 
to the charge of KiCnara, 87. 



WiLKS, Colonel M., History of 
Mysore, quoted, 43 n. 

Yenjee Naik, partisan freebooter 

in Kanara, 99. 
York, Duke of, expedition to 

Holland, 106. 
Yule, Colonel Sir Henry, Hohson- 

J ohson quoted, 60 1 70 n, 

Zeman Shah, Tipii invites, to in- 
vade India, 82. 



TH8 EmX 



OXFORD 

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